April 7th, 2010
04:57 PM ET
4 years ago

Virginia governor declares April as Confederate History Month

'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, . . . ,' Gov. McDonnell's proclamation reads.
'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, . . . ,' Gov. McDonnell's proclamation reads.

(CNN) - For the first time in eight years, Virginia's Republican governor has issued a proclamation declaring April as Confederate History Month in the state, drawing criticism from Democrats and a civil rights group.

"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," Gov. Robert McDonnell's seven-paragraph proclamation reads in part.

He quietly made the declaration after two previous Democratic administrations refused to do so.

"This defining chapter in Virginia's history should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered by all Virginians," the governor's proclamation reads.

It does not mention slavery.

"I wish he would have followed the examples of Gov. [Mark] Warner and Gov. [Tim] Kaine, but obviously he has declined to do so," state Sen. Don McEachin, a Democrat, told CNN affiliate WWBT. "I also find it interesting that while he issues his proclamation, there's no mention of slavery."

The Virginia chapter of the NAACP also condemned the proclamation, The Washington Post reported. The group did not immediately return phone calls to CNN.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans asked the governor to declare the month Confederate History Month. Virginia seceded from the union on April 17, 1861.

Brandon Dorsey, a spokesman for the group, told CNN Radio that Confederate History Month isn't about slavery or race, but about studying the 4-year history of the Confederacy. He said it will also help draw visitors to the many Civil War battle sites in Virginia, helping to boost tourism.

"The proclamation's main goal is to call attention to the fact that there is Confederate history in the state of Virginia, of course, across the South. It's simply a tool to expose individuals to that history. It's not a mandate in any way. It's a symbolic gesture."

He said the group doesn't consider the history of the Confederacy or Virginia's Confederate History Month racially divisive. "It's not meant to discriminate against anybody," he said.

He said that the Confederacy wasn't about continuing the institution of slavery, but that it was really about the states' rights vs. the rights of the federal government. He said there were abolitionists in the group.

Other Southern states have issued similar proclamations for April. In Alabama, Republican Gov. Bob Riley declared April, the month the Civil War began, as Confederate History and Heritage Month. The statement condemns slavery.


Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Popular Posts • Virginia
soundoff (287 Responses)
  1. EBC

    Gov. McDonnell just proved what an IDIOT he is. Virginians voted for this FOOL so voters NOW deserve everything this Governor dishes out.

    Virginians DON'T have anyone else to blame but themselves. Don't cry the blues now.

    April 7, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Kevin Denver Colorado

    "This defining chapter in Virginia's history should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered by all Virginians,"

    Yeah, like the holocaust should be studied by Germans....... not glorified!

    April 7, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. joel palmer

    Why not call a spade a spade? Call it Treason Month

    April 7, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. Zac, ATL

    It was totally about states' rights. As in "you can't tell us what to do about slavery."

    April 7, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. martraco

    The history of the Confederacy can be covered before lunch on the first day, which leaves 29 days to play. Whoopie!

    April 7, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Brink

    You may want to check your history book, Governor. Mine says that the sacrifices made by Virginians in the Civil War were brought on by their own actions by voting for succession. Hasn't the passage of almost a century and a half enabled us to get beyond this and just be Americans?

    April 7, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. Bill from MN

    Soon to be followed by Benedict Arnold Day?

    I didn't know it was important to show remembrance to acts of treason.

    If anything, West Virginia should be the ones honoring their decision during the Civil War.

    April 7, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Stacie

    I'm so saddened by this that I don't even know how to respond. There is something very, very wrong with this, and my heart goes out to all the Virginians who aren't horrible racists.

    April 7, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. patricia c

    The media doesn't need to take this lightly something terrible is brewing I can feel it. White Hooded men/women don't like a black family in the White House nor a black man as leader of their Republican Party and please take the vile ugliness of the TEA Party to heart to many of our Democratic Senators and Congress people are being harassed .Its time that the Media calls it as it really is Racial Hate.

    April 7, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    mcbozo, we know what history you are talking about. Unfortunately most people who still think that the confederate flag should be flown are racists. Sure, no slavery, sure, sure. You keep telling yourself and your KKK friends that.
    The history you are talking about was the Civil War and the south, thank GOD, lost!
    To those in VA who voted for this clown. This is only the beginning. What's next white and black drinking fountains?

    April 7, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. JA/TN

    ah, he should be impeached, didn't the Confederates lose the war, otherwise, they are null and void, and just bring Hitler back, but evil does have fans

    April 7, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. Vic of New York

    Yeah.... That along with Thomas Jefferson turning in his grave.

    If he had only known how Repugnicans would ruin his beloved state.

    April 7, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Peter

    This is sooooooo not the year of a Republican comeback!!! Dems you smell blood in the water??? hehehe!!!

    April 7, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. cjr

    what is going in in VA – the land of Jefferson! This guy hates women, gays, blacks and anyone else he can think of – it's recall time!!

    April 7, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Bubba

    We should all remember what depths this nation can sink to. Not our finest hour as Americans, Christians, or humans.

    April 7, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Dutch

    I called his office this afternoon and asked the clerk was he racist and she didn't respond. What does that tell ya? So far radicla Bob has:

    -cut education spending
    -implemented a provision discriminating against gay state employees
    -filed a frivolous lawsuit against the federal goverment over healthcare
    – and NOW THIS

    I want him IMPEACHED NOW!!! Creigh Deeds told the people to READ THE THESIS. He's implementing his radical views on all of us.

    April 7, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Luke

    Is this guy on drugs? Are the people from Virginia stupid? I can only surmise that they are since they voted for this idiot. And guess what, he's giving my party a bad name. Yes, I'm a Republican from the West Coast. The people on the East Coast are evidently showing their true colors. I stopped funding the RNC because of Virginia's governor. If he keeps this up, it will certainly lead me and others to rethink our affiliation. So sad, but true!

    April 7, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  18. Frank

    WOW what a devisive stupid move Govenor. First you sign an executive order that states that people who work for the state of Virginia can be asked about and terminated for their sexual orientation. Now you sign a Proclamation that makes April Confederate History Month. The Confederate was based on the principle that men were not created equal. That is in direct violation of the Constitution. I wonder how long it will be before this Govenor will sign a Proclamation or executive order saying minorities can be terminated because of the color of their skin.

    April 7, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. LouieD

    Confederate history: Slavery, treason, and defeat. Quite appropriate that a Republican would choose to celebrate all that.

    April 7, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. cspurgeon

    Wow..hes a winner but theyu elected him. they deserve what they got.

    April 7, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  21. Randall

    Good for governor McDonnell and Virginia. Brings some balance to the ridiculous and offensive black history month we all have to put up with. It's not white history month, but it's as close as we'll ever get.

    April 7, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. ART

    Can you say racist cracker

    April 7, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  23. Becky

    Since the Confederates were nothing better than terrorist insurgents....Should September be National Terrorist Rememberance month?

    April 7, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. MikeH

    They would have to stage re-enactments of slave sales, slave whippings, slave castrations, slave lynchings, and severing of the achillies tendon of re-captured escaped slaves to be fully authentic.

    Coming soon to Virginia; repeal of Civil Rights followed soon after by public execution of fornicators and heretics.

    April 7, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. Peter

    How can this guy justify doing this? is it because some of his donors specifically made this request before he got funding to run for Gov? this move will reverberate across the nation and Republicans across America will pay at the polls in Nov!!! Boy im loving thiS Republican self destruction...is it me or every election cycle Republicans constantly just self destruct???

    April 7, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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