Va. Governor Resurrects Controversy with Confederate History Month

Va. Governor Resurrects Controversy with Confederate History Month

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Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell stepped out on a limb to declare April to be Confederate History Month, which has angered civil rights leaders. Republican governor George Allen began the practice in 1997 that was continued by his successor, James S. Gilmore III (R), who had the presence of mind to include anti-slavery language in his proclamation. McConnell excluded the language stating,

“there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia.” – Washington Post

The proclamation, seven paragraphs in length, offers this language:

WHEREAS,  it is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth’s  shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present…

Virginia’s Legislative Black Caucus and the NAACP condemned the statement. Former governor L. Douglas Wilder who has been supportive of McDonnell and even declined to endorse the governor’s opponent, R. Creigh Deeds, was appalled. He said,

“Confederate history is full of many things that unfortunately are not put forth in a proclamation of this kind nor are they things that anyone wants to celebrate. It’s one thing to sound a cause of rallying a base. But it’s quite another to distort history.”

Critics of the governor believe he made the proclamation to boost his standing with the Republican party in the state. McConnell was under pressure to prove that he practiced more than a shallow conservatism.

Yet,Virginia’s Legislative Black Caucus and the NAACP condemned the statement. Former governor L. Douglas Wilder who has been supportive of McDonnell and even declined to endorse the governor”s opponent, R. Creigh Deeds, was appalled. He said,

“Confederate history is full of many things that unfortunately are not put forth in a proclamation of this kind nor are they things that anyone wants to celebrate. It’s one thing to sound a cause of rallying a base. But it’s quite another to distort history.”

Former Democratic governors Mark Warner and Tim A. Kaine refused to make the proclamation as requested by the Sons of  Confederate Veterans.

Joining Virginia in this “celebration” are Alabama, Kentucky, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia.

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