The yearbook searches engendered by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam continue to yield more examples, including in a 1967 University of Arkansas yearbook.

KNWA reports on the UA photograph. Its coverage quotes a black member of the UA journalism faculty who was a yearbook staff member then:


Journalism Professor Gerald Jordan was a student at the time and a staff member for the yearbook.

“After a while your sense of humor just gets dull and you say that’s enough,” Jordan said.

Jordan said he never felt threatened on campus, but the jokes these students thought were funny missed the punchline.

“I’m sure that some kids who were here then felt the same and just said ‘ this is it, I’m not taking it anymore. We don’t have to do this, it’s not funny and you should know that it’s not funny,” Jordan said. 

Blackface wasn’t the only issue faced by the  black students at UA. In 1967, the band still played “Dixie.” A student government resolution in 1969 urged that the practice stop. A website about the band and Dixie quotes black members who refused to participate in silent protest. In 1970,  the band director finally decided not to resume playing “Dixie.” The director expressed a fear of violence.

The hits from past bad judgment keep coming. Just today I read about two more.  Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s expressed regrets for dressing in a Confederate uniform for his fraternity’s Old South days in college at Auburn. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, another Auburn alum, was in a sorority in which several members appeared in minstrel blackface for a rush skit that appeared in the 1967 yearbook. She said she didn’t recall it.


Then there’s Nicole Carroll, USA Today editor in chief. A Gannett newspaper review of yearbooks turned up that she’d been editor of the Arizona State yearbook when it ran photos of people dressing for Halloween as black celebrities. She’s apologized profusely.

More discoveries and more apologies likely will continue.