April 7th, 2010
06:53 PM ET
13 years ago

McDonnell: Not mentioning slavery was 'a mistake'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/07/art.2bob0407.gi.jpg caption=" '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,' Gov. McDonnell said in a statement Wednesday."]
Washington (CNN) – Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday that his recent proclamation designating April as Confederate History Month "contained a major omission."

Earlier: McDonnell names April Confederate History Month

"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 in a written statement. "The abomination of slavery divided our nation, deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights, and led to the Civil War. 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. In 2007, the Virginia General Assembly approved a formal statement of 'profound regret' for the Commonwealth's history of slavery, which was the right thing to do.

McDonnell also noted that while Virginia had been the Capitol of the Confederacy, it was also the first state in the nation to elect an African-American governor. "America's history has been written in Virginia," McDonnell said. "We cannot avoid our past; instead we must demand that it be discussed with civility and responsibility."

In his statement, McDonnell also announced that additional language regarding slavery will be added to the proclamation.

Prior to McDonnell's announcement, his Democratic predecessor issued a statement slamming the Republican governor.

McDonnell's original proclamation, "disregards history, is insensitive to the extraordinary efforts of Americans to eliminate slavery and bind the nation's wounds, and offends millions of Americans of all races and in all parts of our nation," said former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who serves as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Popular Posts • Tim Kaine • Virginia
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. once upon a horse

    I can never understand why so many on the right always seem to want to turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to some of the negative things that have become part of our nation's history. Everything from the institution slavery (and all slaves were NOT just blacks you know), the treatment of Native Americans, and even the Civil Rights movement seem to hit a nerve with them. We need to acknowldge that as great as America is as a nation, these things took part in the history of our country. Not ignore it, nor use it as a cry to unite people against our country. I doubt if anything like this would be discussed on a right wing talk show for example, but I am glad the governor did acknowledge his error.

    April 7, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  2. Rick

    I did not vote for the man and now you see way. This man is a joke.

    April 7, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  3. pete at the beach

    Save your dixie cups the south will rise again

    April 7, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. President Obama could walk on water and the Party of NO would still complain that he left footprints!

    Says a lot about Virginia and the "real" 'Mericuns, and none of it is good.

    April 7, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  5. average joe

    His intentions were clear the first time. He's only doing this because there was a huge outcry.

    April 7, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  6. ib

    Everyone makes a mistake and McDonnell does admit his unlike some liberals. Kaine should not be saying anything after the miserable job he did as gov. By the way Kaine where did all that money that the state got from the biggest tax increase in the history of the state go????

    April 7, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  7. T'SAH from Virginia

    He apologized for the statement in his thesis about women – in other words, "they should stay at home barefooted."

    He changed his views and apologized because he "...previously had resisted legal protections for gay state employees, declared yesterday that as head of the government work force, he will not tolerate bias on the basis of sexual orientation..."

    Now it's this and he is once again, apologizing!!!! Now all of a sudden he is PROUD to mention that Virginia is "...the first state in the nation to elect an African-American governor..."

    I do not like it when a person is pointed out for all of their faults then there defense is "Oh, my best friend is BLACK!!!" This is NOT good for the state of VA when during this war, almost HALF of the population in VA was Black Slaves and the war was a fight to KEEP THEM!!! Is that something to be proud of????

    April 7, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  8. KP

    If your going to recognize history than you better recognize the whole truth.

    April 7, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  9. John in WV

    Not to mention a third of your state that created a new state.

    April 7, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  10. Patsy, Texas

    This guy knew what he was doing and did on purpose. He, and all of
    those just like him, have no self-respect, much less respect for
    those they might hurt They are crude, insensitive, and mean. His
    "mistake" comment is too little, too late, and is typical of those who
    put out such stupidity, then think they can excuse it later with dumb
    comments like "if I hurt..." or " it was a mistake...", etc. What
    a shame.

    April 7, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  11. Bridget

    Normally, I would say something snarky here but the governor is doing the right thing whether or not he's being genuine about it, so better late than never, I say.

    April 7, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  12. sickoftea

    Spoken like a true Pat Robertson disciple. Good luck Virginia! And it's only the beginning.

    April 7, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. JHL

    You think! I love the fact that my gov wants to celebrate the side of the war that wanted to rip the nation apart and enslave an entire race. There is a difference between remembering history and celebrating it.

    I don't know what he is thinking...you don't see Germany celebrating "We Almost Killed All the Jews" month.

    April 7, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. Cayce

    Great the Civil War is indeed a part of America,needs to be studied just like the battleground parks.

    April 7, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  15. Janice

    Complaints from the politically correct morons,a group of morons that will not express their true beliefs and try to be imposters.

    April 7, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  16. jmart0701

    Give me a break...Apparently all the bleeding heart liberals have never traveled along the east coast (NORTH and SOUTH) All beautiful states that have markers all along the highways that mark the brutal massacres that occured during the Civil War. It is unfortunate that men and women from the north and south were killed in both the north and south. Its part of the ugly US history. Maybe the liberals should learn it and accept it and not try to keep your heads in the sand and not accept it. Good and bad are yours as well. Live free or die trying.

    April 7, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  17. sonnie2

    I suppose with the out pouring of public outcry ,That really rocks the
    Governor memory.What a moron!

    April 7, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  18. OBS.

    Funny how my husband and I were just discussing the "new" gov. of this state and his idea of slavery. I think if he had his way he would have those slaves right back in the cotton field just as soon as his pen could put it to paper. He can hardly hide the fact that he believes the white man is STILL the BOSS over everything and every one to include the little woman. The Gov. isn't fooling anyone with his fake statements....

    April 7, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  19. Jim in San Mateo

    They say first impressions are lasting. First statements also demonstrate what the governor is paying attention to and African-Americans aren't it. Tea anyone?

    April 7, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  20. TrueAmericanEagle

    No need to dress it up or repackage it folks........Honoring the Civil War is divisive and pointless in 2010, plain and simple. This is political posturing to appeal to the 15% of his constituency who are right wing extremists. Remember, the house and senate race is coming in November.......

    April 7, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  21. phoenix86

    That's ok. The majority of Americans made a mistake in the last presidential election. We're giong to fix that mistake in 2012.

    April 7, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  22. please

    yah, it's one one those things that's easily overlooked.

    April 7, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  23. Angela Savage Austin

    We Shall Overcome! Despite the "BAD APPLES" in the barrel of America, it is so obvious that things are better. Despite the avalanche of unemployment destined to blanket our economy, despite the anti-government rallys, tea parties, hateful and threatening assaults, America is better off because we have a GREAT President that believes in the People, that has Faith we shall overcome, together. Americans can rise above the cancer of destruction and division, that infected the hope, struggle and pride of this Great Country. Yes We Can And Will...despite those WHO WON'T... the "Bad Apples" .

    April 7, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  24. Perusing-through


    For nearly 150 years Confederates have falsely claimed the American Civil War was about their rights to own (and brutalize) human beings as slaves & property. The North was against slavery and the South wanted to retain the right to own and control human beings.

    When Lincoln won the Presidency with a promise to end slavery, the southern states seceded and the Civil War was on. NO MORE REVISIONIST HISTORY!

    April 7, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  25. ronalde

    It wasn't a mistake he did it to please the tea party and the gop is grooming this clown for a run at president.HA HA.

    April 7, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
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