Blackface photo is a reminder of Virginia’s racist history

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia has become more diverse and socially liberal in recent years. But the state continues to struggle with mindsets shaped by its turbulent racial history.

When a racist photo was discovered last week on Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook page, it was but the latest reminder of the state’s hateful past.

Statues of Confederate leaders remain the defining feature of Richmond’s Monument Avenue and the state legislature stops every year to honor Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson.

The state has the largest number of Confederate monuments, statues and symbols in the nation.

In 2017, Charlottesville became a symbol of racial turmoil after a woman was killed when white nationalists from around the country rallied and rioted to protest the removal of a statue of Lee.