Nassawadox residents react to controversial Northam photo

NASSAWADOX, Va. –  Virginia Governor Ralph Northam now faces calls for his resignation after a photo from his medical school yearbook re-surfaced Friday depicting two people, one wearing blackface, the other in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

47ABC traveled to Nassawadox, Northam’s birthplace, to hear what locals there had to say.

William Decker IV is a lifelong resident, and believe Northam should resign following the discovery of the photo.

“It seems like a lot of hypocrisy coming from the governor, considering during his election, he called out the other candidate as being racist.”

Another resident we spoke with says he hopes the Governor refuses the calls for his resignation.

“He was in school, medical school at the time when it happened. We don’t know what the situation was at the time, it was school. Might’ve been a play or something going on,” said Willie Johnson.

After issuing an apology through Twitter Friday night, saying he takes responsibility for his past actions. On Saturday, Northam changed his story, claiming the two people pictured were not him, and that he has no plans of resigning.

“He issued an apology about this, why would you issue an apology, but now take it back that it wasn’t him at all. That doesn’t seem right,” said Decker.

Calls for his resignation have come from leaders such as Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, and the Democratic and Republican Parties of Virginia.

However, one lifelong resident we spoke with says he and some others in the community feel there may be more to the story.

“We don’t know who’s in the picture, we can’t tell because they had these uniforms on, costumes on,” said Johnson. “A lot of people on the eastern shore are not saying much about it, I guess a lot of people here feel the same way I feel.”

It’s a controversy that has swept up the nation, the commonwealth, as well as Northam’s hometown here on the eastern shore.

“I just want him to hang in there and like he’s doing now keep his peace,” said Johnson.

“If the shoe was on the other foot, from a Republican Governor, he would’ve been out already,” said Decker.

Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax released a statement, breaking his silence Saturday afternoon, you can find that statement and more from other leaders across the nation here.

If Northam were to resign, Fairfax would become the second african-american governor of Virginia.

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