20 Years Before Virginia Blackface Scandal, Mel Carnahan Navigated Similar Revelation In Missouri | St. Louis Public Radio

20 Years Before Virginia Blackface Scandal, Mel Carnahan Navigated Similar Revelation In Missouri

Feb 8, 2019

Former Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan
Credit Missouri Secretary of State

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh delved into a local parallel to the current controversy involving Virginia’s top leaders – Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment and Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring – who recently admitted to appearing in blackface decades ago.

People dressed in blackface are seen in the 1968 edition of The Bomb, Virginia Military Institute's yearbook.
Credit Virginia Military Institute Yearbook | Screenshot by NPR

Joining him for the conversation was longtime political reporter Jo Mannies, who discussed her coverage of a similar case in Missouri in 1999, when a photo of then-Gov. Mel Carnahan in blackface – taken in 1960 – surfaced during Carnahan’s campaign for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Mannies described the political and public outcry surrounding Carnahan’s scandal and compared it to today’s reactions to the Virginia ordeal. Listen to the full discussion:

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