Governor McDonnell Amends Controversial Proclamation
Governor Bob McDonnell amended a particularly controversial proclamation late yesterday after strong criticism from African Americans.
On Tuesday Governor Bob McDonnell issued a proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month.
Initially the document did not include any reference to slavery, which created a substantial backlash from African American leaders. After 24 hours of national media attention, McDonnell inserted a new section calling slavery an evil and inhumane practice.
Former Governor Doug Wilder commended Governor McDonnell for the change but said he questioned whether the confederate era should be celebrated at all.
Wilder: What are you celebrating, who is to participate in the celebration? The population of Virginia was at the time a half million persons of African descent. Were they happy? No! Would their descendants be happy now? No. Would people be glad to have seen the confederacy win and our nation continually divided? No.
While former Republican Governors George Allen and Jim Gilmore issued similar proclamations, former Democratic Governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine declined to do so. However, in one of Governor Gilmore’s later proclamations language was added acknowledging the negative impacts of slavery.
Craig Carper, WCVE News, Capitol Square.