Blackface photos found in Georgia Southern yearbooks

Local News
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Racist images are being uncovered in dozens of decades-old yearbooks, including one local university’s.

It’s likely the recent blackface scandal involving Gov. Ralph Northam prompted others to dig into school archives.

Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook showing students in blackface and a Ku Klux Klan hood received national backlash.

The George-Anne, official student newspaper of Georgia Southern University (GS), recently discovered multiple culturally inappropriate photos in their school’s yearbooks.

Three instances of GS students with painted black faces were found in the yearbooks: two from a minstrel show performance and another from a 1986 “Haunted Forest” event.

Minstrel shows were founded on racial stereotypes. The performances typically featured white men who caricatured the singing and dancing of slaves with their faces painted black.

The newspaper also found a photo from a 1970 yearbook of Kappa Alpha fraternity members posing with a rebel flag.

GS Director of Marketing and Communications Jennifer Wise told The George-Anne that the images are offensive and do not reflect the university’s inclusive values.

Within the week, multiple reports of racist photos in old yearbooks have surfaced in our region.

In Emory University yearbooks, portrayals of blackface and a theatrical mock lynching were found. Likewise, photos of University of South Carolina students who were white and wore black face paint were uncovered.

Officials from both schools condemned the images. Emory said it was forming a commission to review the photos.

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