Governor McDonnell apologizes for proclamation - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

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Governor McDonnell apologizes for proclamation

By Evrod Cassimy - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The pressure against Governor McDonnell started mounting soon after he proclaimed April was for Confederate history -- but made no mention of slavery. The story's been growing, along with the controversy -- it garnered national attention -- after we first reported it last night. 

Governor Bob McDonnell is issuing an apology to those he offended or disappointed. This apology comes after he recently declared April 2010 as Confederate History Month, a tradition that had ended 8 years ago in the commonwealth. 

"I had a citizen group that made the request and I thought that just having people look at the history, learning from the mistakes of the history but understanding Virginia's role in the battlefield would be helpful for economic development," said McDonnell. 

But Governor McDonnell omitted one major area when making the proclamation...slavery. 

"Slaves and slavery was the cause of this war and thank God that war ended with the Confederacy losing," said former governor Doug Wilder. 

"Slavery was an absolute abomination on this nation. It was the darkest period in our history and it was a vile and horrific practice that I'm glad was wiped off the face of this country. And so I didn't mention it solely because I was trying to focus on the war aspects of it," said McDonnell. 

Now the proclamation has an added paragraph that reads in part, "It is important for all Virginia's to understand that slavery was an evil and inhumane practice that deprived people of their God given rights." Some believe this addition and his apology comes too little too late. 

"Do you accept his apology? No. It was not an apology. Anytime anyone uses the clause if I offended anyone...the offense was clear. Save it for David, we don't accept it," said Virginia NAACP Executive Director King Salim Khalfani. 

This new part of the declaration will be added to the third and fourth sections of the declaration. McDonnell says that not including any slavery reference was a mistake and his apology is to any Virginian that was offended or disappointed. 

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