Virginia Sen. Tommy Norment managing editor of VMI yearbook filled with racism

Posted: 1:49 PM, Feb 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-07 23:15:25-05
Virginia Sen. Tommy Norment managing editor of VMI yearbook filled with racism

Virginia Senator and Republican Majority Leader Tommy Norment is listed as the managing editor of the 1968 Virginia Military Institute yearbook called "The Bomb."

News 3 found photos with people wearing blackface and captions that are considered racial slurs.

On one page a photo description read "Four years ago New Market's revenge on VMI ambled through stoop-n**** arch in his first attempt to evade the system."

On a page for the editors in the yearbook, comments listed after Norment's name said this of the publication:

"It has been the objective of this year's Bomb staff to concentrate on the VMI as it exists in actuality, not in theory. There is an ever-broadening chasm between the two positions. With the completion of this editorial and the 1960 Bomb, I regretfully leave behind the theme 'Honor above Self' and the loyalty of a few selected Brother Rats. Work on the Bomb has permitted me to release four years of inhibitions."

This discovery comes as Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring face calls to resign due to blackface controversies of their own.

Norment has served in the Senate of Virginia for 20 years, according to his website. He serves as a member of the Courts of Justice, Finance, Rehabilitation and Social Services, Rules, and Commerce and Labor Committees.

He attended VMI before attending the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary. He now represents District 3 which includes parts of Gloucester,  Poquoson, Isle of Wight, James City County, Surry, York, Hampton and Suffolk.

Norment released a statement after the news was released Thursday saying:

“I was, and am, proud to be a member of the Class of 1968 of the Virginia Military Institute. As I acknowledged on Page 236 of The Bomb, that was a year of ‘imperative transition’ at VMI.

I served The Bomb as part of a seven-member team that included an Editor-in-Chief, a Lay-out Editor, a Copy Editor, an Art Director, a Production Assistant, a Business Manager, and my position, Managing Editor.

With 114 editions of The Bomb available online dating back to 1885, I am not surprised that those wanting to engulf Republican leaders in the current situations involving the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General would highlight the yearbook from my graduation a half century ago.

The use of blackface is abhorrent in our society and I emphatically condemn it. As one of seven working on a 359-page yearbook, I cannot endorse or associate myself with every photo, entry, or word on each page. However, I am not in any of the photos referenced on pages 82 or 122, nor did I take any of the photos in question.

As my comment on Page 236 notes, I supported the integration of VMI. And in 1997, I led the effort to have my alma mater include women for the first time.

Despite all of the distractions from the continuing controversies involving our statewide elected officials, I am intent on fulfilling the work of the people of Virginia by passing a fiscally responsible budget that provides tax relief for working families."

Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox released a statement as well:

"Senator Norment has emphatically condemned the racist and abhorrent photos in the yearbook, as do I. None of the photos include him, he's spoken to his role as a member of the yearbook staff and shared his views on the admissions policy. It's unfair to compare assisting in the production of a yearbook to the other revelations from this week."

News 3 has reached out to VMI for comment. The news was first reported by The Virginian-Pilot Thursday morning.