The pictures were provided by an anonymous source to the TV station. Cronk told the station and a conservative blog that he dressed as Madea — a Southern black female character created by actor-comedian Tyler Perry — during a party that invited attendees to come dressed as an inspiring fictional character.
The party was in Tok, and at the time, Cronk was a teacher at the Tok School.
He did not immediately respond to an email or phone calls seeking additional comment and clarification.
At the time, Taryn Hughes was a librarian at Tok School and was at the party.
“This happened. I can confirm it happened,” she said.
Now a Democratic candidate for House District 5 in Fairbanks, Hughes said she wishes she had spoken up. At the party, she posed for pictures with Cronk, as did others.
“At the time, I don’t think any of us were in a position or place in our lives where we understood how deeply racist it was to not speak up,” she said.
Blackface originated in the 19th century as a way for white actors to stereotype black Americans. The practice has persisted despite its racist origins, and notable politicians — including Virginia’s Democratic governor and the prime minister of Canada — have been criticized for previously dressing in blackface.
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