Governor in blackface scandal names new diversity director

Governor in blackface scandal names new diversity director
FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 22, 2019 file photo, Gov. Ralph Northam, center, greets members of the Richmond 34 and other African-American leaders for a breakfast at the Governors Mansion at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. The Richmond 34 were a group of African Americans who defied segregation laws in the 1960's. Two months after his political career was all but dead, life for Northam looks mostly back to normal. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (Source: Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia governor embroiled in a blackface scandal earlier this year is appointing a new top aide whose job will be to make government more inclusive.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Monday that he's appointing Janice Underwood to a newly created senior position whose duties will include formulating a strategic plan to "address systemic inequities" in state government.

Underwood is the former director of diversity initiatives at Old Dominion University.

Northam faced intense pressure to resign after it became public knowledge that a photo of someone wearing blackface appears on his 1984 medical school yearbook page.

The governor denied being in the picture but admitted to wearing blackface as a young man while portraying Michael Jackson at a dance party in the 1980s.

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