Alabama governor apologies for wearing blackface in college
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey apologized today for wearing blackface decades ago, becoming the latest politician to face scrutiny over racially insensitive photos and actions from their university days.
Ivey, 74, issued the apology after a 1967 radio interview surfaced in which her now-ex-husband describes her actions at Auburn University, where she was vice president of the student government association.
"I offer my heartfelt apologies for the pain and embarrassment this causes, and I will do all I can - going forward - to help show the nation that the Alabama of today is a far cry from the Alabama of the 1960s," Ivey said.
Ivey released a recording of the college radio interview she and then-fiance Ben LaRavia gave. In the interview, LaRavia describes Ivey as wearing coveralls and "black paint all over her face" while pretending to search for used cigars on the ground in a skit at the Baptist Student Union party. The skit was called "Cigar Butts."
Ivey and LaRavia were married for a short time and later divorced.
Ivey said she did not remember the skit, but "will not deny what is the obvious."
"As such, I fully acknowledge - with genuine remorse - my participation in a skit like that back when I was a senior in college."
"While some may attempt to excuse this as acceptable behavior for a college student during the mid-1960s, that is not who I am today, and it is not what my Administration represents all these years later."
Ivey is the latest politician to face scrutiny over wearing blackface decades ago.
A racist photo in the medical school yearbook of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam led to calls for his resignation. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring also acknowledged wearing blackface in college.
Alabama Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, who is African American, said he appreciated Ivey "owning" the incident and apologizing for it.
"While I think this is something that is disturbing in the African-American community, for someone to make a mockery of us and our culture, I appreciate her for at least owning it and coming out publicly with it," Singleton said. He said Ivey called him this morning to personally apologize.