Virginia's Republican governor has opened some deep wounds by issuing a proclamation declaring April as Confederate History Month in the state.
That is because the proclamation quietly posted on Gov. Bob McDonnell's web site on Friday did not mention slavery.
That led McDonnell to apologize today for the omission and add the following language to the proclamation:
"It is important for all Virginians to understand that the institution of slavery led to this war and was an evil and inhumane practice that deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights and all Virginians are thankful for its permanent eradication from our borders, and the study of this time period should reflect upon and learn from his painful part of our history..."
McDonnell points out in his press release late this afternoon that "Virginia history undeniably includes the fact that we were the Capitol of the Confederacy, the site of more battlefields than any other state, and the home of the signing of the peace agreement at Appomattox." He adds, "The state... was also the first in the nation to elect an African-American governor, my friend, L. Douglas Wilder."
But Wilder is quoted in various news reports today saying it is "mind-boggling" that McDonnell didn't reference slavery in his original proclamation. He just spoke on CNN's Campbell Brown and said he's satisfied with the governor's addition to the proclamation that addresses slavery.
Others don't see it that way. Virginia State Sen. Henry Marsh III said the mea culpa was not enough. We'll have all the angles tonight on the program. You'll also hear from Brag Bowling. He's the commander of the Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who advised McDonnell on the proclamation.
McDonnell said the move was made to "promote the study of our history" and "encourage tourism" in advance of the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.
But two previous Democratic administrations in his state refused to so. It was Virginia's Republican Gov. George Allen who first made the proclamation in 1997, with no condemnation of slavery. His successor, Gov. James Gilmore - another Republican - continued the practice the next year, but added anti-slavery language to the decree. Gilmore also later changed the name of the month to "Virginia's Month of Remembrance of the Sacrifices and Honor of All Virginians Who Served in the Civil War."
Tonight we'll also have the latest developments on the mine explosion in West Virginia. A drill pierced the mine where four missing miners are believed to be, but the levels of carbon monoxide, methane and hydrogen are too dangerous to let rescuers in. 25 other miners died in Monday's blast.
Plus, tennis legend Martina Navratilova in her own words sharing her battle against breast cancer. She has a message she wants every women to hear.
Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then.
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