McDonnell Apologizes for Omitting Slavery From Proclamation

Governor updates Confederate History Month proclamation

By Matthew Stabley
|  Wednesday, Apr 7, 2010  |  Updated 7:30 PM EDT
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Controversial Confederate History Month Proclamation

AP

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Controversial Confederate History Month Proclamation

Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a new proclamation designating April as Confederate History Month. The controversial proclamation had been on hiatus for 8 years.
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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell apologized Wednesday for a gross oversight in his proclamation designating April Confederate History Month in Virginia for the first time since the last time a Republican held his office.

"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."

It's also important to remember how incredibly wrong slavery was, and McDonnell's proclamation made no mention of that, drawing much criticism.

On Wednesday, he fixed that, including a bit more history in his lesson by adding this between the third and fourth sections of the proclamation:

WHEREAS, it is important for all Virginians to understand that the institution of slavery led to this war and was an evil and inhumane practice that deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights and all Virginians are thankful for its permanent eradication from our borders, and the study of this time period should reflect upon and learn from this painful part of our history …

"The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed," McDonnell said.

Former Gov. Jim Gilmore last issued a Confederate History Month proclamation in 2001. McDonnell's more recent predecessors, Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, refused to touch.

"Slavery was an evil, vicious and inhumane practice which degraded human beings to property, and it has left a stain on the soul of this state and nation," McDonnell said Wednesday.

April 17 is the 149th anniversary of Virginia's secession. Virginia's capital once doubled as the Confederate seat of government.

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