JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The Republican front-runner in the 2019 Mississippi Governor’s race has been thrown into a national controversy over racist yearbook photos.
The fraternity, which is still active at Millsaps, looks to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee as its spiritual leader.
In Millsaps’ 1995 yearbook, a photograph of Reeves appears next to a photo of members dressed as Confederate soldiers and another of a group in fraternity T-shirts and face paint that some are calling “blackface”. Keep in mind, the photos are in black and white so it’s not clear if the paint is actually black or another color.
Three of the men in the photo are also wearing Confederate flags on their heads and another photo shows dozens of members dressed as Confederate soldiers for the fraternity event known as “Old South”.
The images were first uncovered and published by the Democratic super PAC American Bridge on its website, the American Ledger.
This comes after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to donning blackface at parties during their undergraduate careers, leading many to call for their resignations
Reeves’s Communication Director Laura Hipp issued a statement saying,
“As a quick Google search will show, Lt. Gov. Reeves was a member of Kappa Alpha Order. Like every other college student, he did attend costume formals and other parties, and across America, Kappa Alpha’s costume formal is traditionally called Old South in honor of the civil war veteran who founded the fraternity in the 1800s.”
Governor Phil Bryant was asked about the photos while touring the new Continental Tire plant with U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. He said that he had not seen or read anything from that report.
“If that took place with someone within a fraternity certainly I would condemn that. I think that’s the wrong thing that would happen there and as it happened in Virginia," said Governor Bryant. "I don’t know anything about that. I’ve learned over the years to get information before I make any comment.”
Millsaps College also released a statement, it reads in part, “Relative to the images of members of the fraternity shown in blackface, the decision to publish those and any other similar photographs was a mistake. Those actions and images were offensive to African-American students, and not in line with our values at Millsaps College.”
A Mason-Dixon poll released Wednesday showed Reeves with a 53-point lead in the GOP primary but indicated a dead heat between Reeves and Jim Hood, the Democratic attorney general, in the general election.
The Mississippi gubernatorial primary is on Aug. 6.