USC apologizes after pictures of students in blackface are found in old yearbooks

The University of South Carolina is apologizing after an archivist found pictures of students wearing blackface in old yearbooks.

The photos were found in the archive of the Garnet and Black, which was USC’s yearbook from 1899 to 1994, USC president Harris Pastides said in a letter sent Tuesday.

“While the overwhelming majority of content within these pages celebrate our university’s successes and traditions, there are a number of offensive photos depicting white students in blackface and other offensive content,” according to a letter, which was sent to students, faculty and staff. “In no uncertain terms, we denounce these photos and the mindsets they represent.”

The revelations come amid a national outcry after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam admitted to wearing blackface to a school dance in 1984.

“These photos give us another opportunity, as a community, to address and learn from the demons of the past,” Pastides said in the letter. “While we cannot change the past, we will continue to work every day to create an environment in which each of us feels welcome and can thrive.”

Lucas Daprile has been covering the University of South Carolina and higher education since March 2018. Before working for The State, he graduated from Ohio University and worked as an investigative reporter at TCPalm in Stuart, FL. There, where he won multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for his political and environmental coverage.