Northam’s med school banned yearbooks in 2013 ‘ after students posed in Confederate garb


NORFOLK ‘ The first person Richard V. Homan hired after becoming provost of Eastern Virginia Medical School President seven years ago was Mekbib Gemeda,

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NORFOLK ‘ The first person Richard V. Homan hired after becoming provost of Eastern Virginia Medical School seven years ago was Mekbib Gemeda, in the newly created position of vice president for diversity and inclusion.

Homan wanted to ensure that EVMS, whose students often serve lower-income patients from both rural and urban areas, fostered an environment where students from all backgrounds could be comfortable.

Gemeda soon showed Homan a yearbook with portraits of three white students dressed in Confederate uniforms, standing in front of the Confederate battle flag. It was 2013, almost 30 years after the creation of a yearbook page dedicated to fourth-year student Ralph S. Northam, the future governor of Virginia, which features a photo of a person in blackface and one in Ku Klux Klan garb.

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‘Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we will not condone hatred and bigotry ‘ and to end the politics that have torn this country apart,’ he said, adding, ‘It’s going to take a doctor to heal our differences.’

Northam’s personal past ripped open those wounds over the weekend, threatening to end his governorship 15 months after a decisive victory.

The governor has denied posing for a racist photograph that was published in his medical school yearbook and refused to resign, despite intense pressure from his own Democratic Party.

Northam, 59, now teeters precariously on the top rung of a political ladder that he ascended in just 10 years, aided by his biography as a pediatrician, an Army officer and a rural Virginian in a state where Democrats have little strength outside cities and suburbs.

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