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Political Crisis in Virginia

Posted on in Civil Rights · American Government · State Government

The top leaders of Virginia—Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General—are all embroiled in an unprecedented political scandal. The crisis began after racist pictures emerged from the medical school yearbook page of Governor Ralph Northam.

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for Political Crisis in Virginia


“‘A horrific week for Virginia’: Gov. Ralph Northam takes on blackface scandal in first interview”

“Virginia blackface scandal: Ralph Northam vows to stay as governor”

“Ralph Northam wants forgiveness. Virginia’s black activists want him to work for it.”

“Close friend of Virginia Gov. Northam: ‘He’s not leaving’ despite rolling controversy”

“How the history of blackface is rooted in racism”

“Why Ralph Northam thinks he can wait out his blackface scandal (he’s wrong)”

“The blackface scandal shows that we are a nation that still is not fully healed”

“Conservatives can’t agree if blackface is always racist”

“Why Virginia’s chaos has deep roots”


  • Writing: Describe the state of affairs among Virginia’s political leadership.
  • Debate: If Virginia’s top political leaders don’t resign, the legislature should consider impeachment.
  • Poll: Were you aware of the crisis gripping the political leadership in Virginia?
  • Short Answer: Why is Governor Northam being encouraged to resign?

Current events quiz:

1) Governor Ralph Northam was photographed in blackface his his yearbook, along with another person who was photographed in this costume:

a. blackface
b. KKK robe
c. pirate costume
d. police officer

2) How many Virginia politicians have admitted to wearing blackface in the past several weeks?

a. 1
b. 2
c. 3
d. 4

3) Mark Herring, the other politician who has allegedly worn blackface, currently holds what position in Virginia?

a. Deputy Governor
b. Mayor
c. Attorney General
d. State Senator

4) Most Democrats think that Governor Northam should resign from office.(T/F)

5) Ralph Northam has admitted that if the people want him to, he is willing to resign. (T/F)

6) Virginia does not have a history of slavery, so this scandal was extra shocking to the citizens. (T/F)


1) B

2) B

3) C

4) True

5) False

6) False

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