Controversy

April Declared Confederate History Month

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell has signed a proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month, angering civil rights leaders, including the Virginia NAACP and Legislative Black Caucus. The Republican governor's proclamation contains no mention of slavery because, as he put it, "there were any number of aspects" to the Civil War, which "obviously" included slavery and he "focused on the ones I thought were most significant to Virginia." Former governor L. Douglas Wilder, a Demoocrat who has been supportive of McDonnell, called the proclamation "mind-boggling" and said "It's one thing to sound a cause of rallying a base. But it's quite another to distort history." Gov. George Allen (R) issued the first such proclamation in 1997, and his successor James S. Gilmore III (R) continued the tradition, but added anti-slavery language that did not appear in McDonnell's account. McDonnell later issued an apology, calling his oversight a "major omission." Over the last eight years, two Democratic governors refused to issue the order.