Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is the most recent high-ranking government official to be outed for wearing blackface in the past. While at Auburn University, she wore coveralls and had “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 story came out when a 1967 radio interview surfaced in which her now-ex-husband describes her actions in the skit. At the time, Ivey was vice president of the student government association.
Ivey did apologize for her actions and released a copy of the recording. But she also used the age-old excuse: “the Alabama of today is a far cry from the Alabama of the 1960s.”
Ivey also said that she did not remember being in the skit.
“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 said, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The 1967 radio interview was found by Auburn University officials while working on a project to digitize and archive old university records. The university told the governor about it and that’s when she decided to try and get ahead of it and release it herself.
Blackface has clearly been popular for Southern government officials.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam faced serious calls for his resignation after medical school yearbook photos surfaced showing Northam in blackface. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring also acknowledged wearing blackface in college.
The Alabama NAACP has called for Ivey’s resignation but that does not seem to have much broad support.
The NAACP’s statement said that Ivey’s apology wasn’t sufficient and “does not erase the fact that she participated in these activities that mocked and intimidated African Americans.”