Bob McDonnell Leaves Out Slavery From 'Confederate History Month' Proclamation: Not 'Significant' Enough
Just in case Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's declaration of April as "Confederate History Month" wasn't controversial enough, he caused additional outcry Tuesday by explaining why he chose to leave out any reference "slavery" in his proclamation.
From the Washington Post:
McDonnell said Tuesday that the move was designed to promote tourism in the state, which next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the war. McDonnell said he did not include a reference to slavery because "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."The declaration of "Confederate History Month" in Virginia is not a new idea. But prior proclamations have been more careful about the sensitive nature of the historical period. McDonnell's recent Democratic predecessors chose not to observe "Confederate History Month."
Former Republican Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore explicitly mentioned slavery in his 1999 declaration of "Confederate History Month," and though his predecessor, Republican George Allen, neglected to mention slavery in a similar proclamation, he apologized after coming under heavy fire from civil rights activists.
According to the Washington Post, McDonnell's proclamation has so far been condemned by the NAACP, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and former Virginia Gov. Former L. Douglas Wilder, the first African American to be elected Governor, among others.