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. Kwasi Ansong

    I'm extremely disappointed not only in the newly elected Governor, but in myself for not going to the poll during election day to help elect his opponent. This guy is definitely a one term Governor for sure.

    April 7, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Scott

    Forgt the ommission of apologizing for racisim. The whole conecpt of recognizing Confederate history samcks of continuing the divisivness that is afflicting this country. Red states, Blue states, Liveral, COnservative, Tea Party, Coffee Party.....it's insane. Wake up COnfederates: you lost hte war! Time to finally join the union. Flying the confederate flag anywhere, anytime is just plain wrong.

    April 7, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. Frank

    Gee, an afterthought. Slavery was the moral issue which united the Confederacy, clothed in the issue of states' rights under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (ignoring the Supremacy Clause in Article 6). Sound familiar? It is the same clothing which this governor and his attorney general are using to challenge (nullification is the term) the Congress's right to pass health care legislation requiring people to be insured. Not much has really changed, Governor, and correcting the proclamation will not change your argument currently into a rational one.

    April 7, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. iProud

    Yet another Republican moron.

    April 7, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  5. Jamie from Riverside

    Bob Mc Donnell said that Slavery divided our nation, deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights, and led to the Civil War, was evil, vicious and an inhumane practice which degraded human beings to property .......but so what, we're gonna celebrate all that anyway! Woo Hoo, what a guy.

    April 7, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  6. Davey

    First he wants to sue the Federal Government over " Obama" healthcare, and now he proclaims April as Confederate History Month?? What is going on with Virginia?

    April 7, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. Patriot

    You go Bob!

    Keep up the great work! Balance the budget on the backs of the disabled, cut school funding, but you DID open the I-81 rest stops.

    Oh yeah, that Slavery thing. Hmm, a minor ommission on your part? Right up there with that Thesis you wrote....

    April 7, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  8. LetsBeCivil

    I had so hoped we had gotten beyond the likes of McConnell. Obviously I was wrong. How could he be so "sensitive" to history and not realize how his proclamation would be received?

    April 7, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  9. usualone

    Too little, too late. And VA you are stuck with this guy for four more years. Where are the VA inlellectuals and when will they speak out?

    April 7, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  10. st john

    A simple oversight, I'm sure. One would not expect the Governor of VA to remember that slavery was a significant aspect of the Civil(sic) War. The abolition of slavery was, no doubt, an aberration and collateral damage of the overall rebellion by the South to overthrow its emperial Northern masters.

    Just saying...

    April 7, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  11. mm

    This Governor made a mistake for not mentioning slavery in his proclamation? Virginians, you voted for this mistake in of a Governor.

    April 7, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    OOOOH, umm, about that.....that slavery thing.....OOOOPS.

    April 7, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  13. Frozone

    At the end of the Civil War half of Virginians were black. What history are you celebrating Governor?

    April 7, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  14. jbakaregit

    Yeah right McDonnell. Somebody must have told you your national aspirations just went out the window.

    At the rate he and his AG are going, they'll be lucky to last longer than Michael Steele.

    April 7, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  15. Sarah

    It is a little to late for that, particularly after stating that "slavery wasn't significant enough" to include in the proclamation. And, really, what is the purpose of this confederate history proclamation? His apology is not accepted – bigot idiot!

    April 7, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  16. Jarred

    Louisiana was the first state to elect an African-American as governor.

    April 7, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  17. R.A.Wiley

    If it was such a stain on the state why are you celebrating the history by designating a month? The only mistake was thinking no one would call you on it.

    April 7, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  18. Avi Shlomo

    Please do not balme the Governor for he has never seen anyone BUT white people. It must have to do with his ubringing and church for they themselves never knew of Black people expect in far away states as Virginia remianed the only white people Beacon.

    April 7, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  19. Chauncey

    I am outraged by the insensitivity of an elected official...then again, why would I be surprised?????

    April 7, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  20. Bill

    This man is an idiot. Every time he opens his mouth he shows how out of touch he is. He has made it his personal mission to gut funding for Virginia's public schools and replace them with charter schools. He refuses to raise any tax, but is more than happy to cut all of the funding for free breakfast for poor kids. It is no surprise that he left any reference to slavery out of this ridiculous proclamation. He is a conservative. They liked things in the "good old days" Like when blacks had their own water fountains and such. I live in Virginia but I see little to be proud about in regards to the confederacy.

    April 7, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. pc

    his cat is out of the bag now and it will be hard to get it put back. america can see thru this racist gov. not only by this but the repeels that he has already done against the gays since he has taken office. i see a one term for this white rich dude that thinks america only belongs to them.thank god most of america now lives in the 21st century.

    April 7, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  22. Perusing-through


    The hypocritical Republican-GOP always accuses Liberals of historical revisionism. Well blow me down! McDonnell (a Republican) is trying to re-write history.

    SLAVERY WAS THE CENTRAL ISSUE TO THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR! The North abhorred slavery and promised to end it through legislation. The South wanted to: (1.) retain control of human beings, (2.) rape & brutalize slaves without accountability, (3.) and sell-off children of slaves and while keeping them ignorant.

    April 7, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  23. Limnologym

    McDonnell's latest remarks are simply political cover for a poorly thought-out action. As a native Southerner, I am disappointed.

    April 7, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  24. pattyd

    The entire is a mistake, Governor!!

    April 7, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  25. hippieprof

    Hmmm... he forgot to mention slavery. I suspect that anyone who could "forget" about slavery has some seriously frightening motives and is dangerous to have as an elected official.

    - hp

    April 7, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
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