April 7th, 2010
06:31 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Confederate History Month Controversy

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

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.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. JB

    The spark that ignited a wildfire.

    It was irresponsible of the Govenor to sign such a proclamation.
    The Civil War, the fight against slavery, and we are dedicating a month to remember the defenders of Slavery?
    How about 100 years from now we proclaim 'Osama Bin Laden Month'?

    As an American, I am deeply offended by this act.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
  2. Moses

    I can agree to the celebrating of a races regime in Virginia. If the same people who are celebrating will agree to pay the descendants of former slaves with the land that former slave owners once held. Also any wealth that was passed on from former slave owners to their descendants. These lands should be aloud to have casinos and maintain the same solventy as the federal government. Know matter how crazy this suggestion may sound it is still more reasonable than celebrating a confederate army. The Governor should stick to making holidays that represent all the people of Virginia and not one group. Millions of slaves died during the middle passages all the way to virginia and died on your plantations Governor where is your proclamation for them.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
  3. Carlton in Durham, NC

    The Confederate States of America seceded from the United States of America. The Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter and the USA retaliated. In there eyes they were no longer a part from the Union. The right to enslave other human beings was a significant part of the fight for states right. Recognizing their role in American history and understanding that part of American history affects us today is one thing but I really don't understand why a group of people who organized to fight the USA to separate should be honored and glorified. It's not like they were trying to be apart of America as most groups such African-Americans, Latinos, Italian-Americans, Asian-Americans, etc. have been trying and continue to try to be apart of the great country of immigrants

    April 7, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
  4. JackD

    And as to P. James - Why don't you learn to read your history instead of inventing it. Thanksgiving became a holiday when grateful Pilgrims declared a three-day feast, starting on December 13, 1621, to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends. While this was not the first Thanksgiving in America (thanksgiving services were held in Virginia as early as 1607), it was America's first Thanksgiving Festival. "With their Indian friends". This represented all that could have been in a proserous and mutulally advantageous relationship with Native Americans, which unfortunately devolved into the typical acquisitive, greedy and abhorent behavior of those possessing better weapons. We had so much to learn, but Thanksgiving was not the problem!!

    April 7, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
  5. David Wright

    I am listening to the controversy about Confederate History. I find the discussion very disturbing in that Hitler/Nazi was mentioned as a comparison to US history. My Mother's family was the largest slave owner in the state of KY at one time. Not proud of that but not ashamed either – one must read and understand what took place during the times.

    My Mother's maiden name was Boon (Boone is incorrect , and yes, Daniel is my uncle 5 X removed – there are documents on my walls signed by guys with names like "Harrison," "Gibson" and "Madison," and there's a real muzzle-loader gun in my closet). I have walked the land and the cemeteries – both African American and decendants of those who settled here in 1717.

    History can't be changed. Hiding the History and comparing it with the Nazi guys is just wrong. It's time to get over it and understand it's History and not racist.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
  6. mark

    If you happen to believe that Confederates were simply a band of hate mongers , you are ill educated and grossly mistaken and possibly have some hate in your own being. Overall , the Confederate soldier saw the threat of a new "Republican Party" seeking to increase tarrifs and taxes on southern goods to promote more building ,industry and infrastructure in the north.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:58 pm |
  7. Karrie

    No one happened to mention the fact that we celebrate Christopher Columbus day, even though his crew and others that followed enslaved, raped, and tortured thousands of Indians. No one speaks up for them because as we all know African Americans are the only ones who have ever been treated unfairly throughout history. I say we have Columbus day because it is a part of American history, the good and the bad is what has transformed the U.S. Into the country that allows us the privilege of liberty and persuit of happyness. Stop being so sensitive already. Geeez, I am exhausted being forced to feel guilty and apologetic for a crime that I, nor my mother, nor my grandmother, nor my great grandmother took part in.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  8. patrick davis of santa barbara

    my son is biracial, half black and half white. I am trying to teach my son the real american history not the one that is in our text book, in american schools. I .would never tell him that it is ok to celebrate such an ugly and evil time, that brings tears to my eyes, To think that someone would suggest that we should celebrate something that is so evil.this is ignorant and senseless, and a gross lack of feeling for black people who have given so much to this country. I am saddend that we still have people that have such denial and hatred to think that, that would'nt open up such terrible emotions in my people. Thanks anderson for allowing me to express my feeling.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  9. Derek

    Another thing...

    Not all slave owners treated their slaves bad. Mostly the rich plantation owners did because they had the money to do as they pleased.

    But some slave owners treated their slaves like family. Why would a middle class or low class person want to beat up on their slaves when they were expensive generally to buy?

    April 7, 2010 at 10:52 pm |
  10. Shirley

    I am PROUD of my Southern heritage and I think that we SHOULD honor our ancestors that fought and died protecting their homes and family. My ancestors fought and died in the Civil War and they NEVER owned slaves. Not ALL Southerners in that time were wealthy. My ancestors worked in the cotton fields all day long, children along side the adults.
    When there were Union Soldiers marching through areas, burning everything in their path, stealing, raping and murdering innocent women and children do you think our forefathers had no right to defend what belonged to them?
    I don't believe that slavery was right but NOT all landowners in the South owned slaves and NOT all approved of it !!!
    When all is said and done, we who are living NOW had NOTHING to do with what happened over a century ago ! If you want to talk about slaveowners, what about the Egyptians ?
    Let's learn from the past, LIVE in the present and make a better life in the future.
    ALL American veterans should be honored for their sacrifice.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
  11. David

    If the states had lost the revolutionary war, would we as British citizens consider George Washington the leader of the rebel forces or a traitor or worse.

    Slavery is only one of many issues between north and south.

    Confederate soldiers were not Nazis. Most were not slave owners. They served their government just as loyally as todays soldiers. The loyalty at that time was more to a state than a nation.

    Slavery is a dark time for the United States as a whole. It was coming to an end before the Confederacy was formed. The war just brought about convenient circumstances for the emancipation proclamation.

    If you don't like what the governor of Virginia does, vote against him.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
  12. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    I guess we need to cancel Black History Month. Roland Martin's tirade tonight was totally unprofessional and historically flawed. Slavery was AN issue but not the only issue. Economic issues like whether to have low (favored by the south) or high (favored by the North) tariffs was a major issue. Only 5% of the southern white population owned slaves. I doubt that the other 95% fought a devastating war for that 5%.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
  13. Ann-Virginia

    P.James,why would Thanksgiving Day be an insult to Native Americans when they provided the food for the celebration & partook of that food with the colonists whom thay thought were their friends,only to end up dead at the hands of the invaders.Not the same at all.I live in Virginia,unfortunately,& can tell you there are lots of people here who are proud of the Confederacy.Last time I looked we were the United States of America,not the United States of the Confederacy.This was clearly a slap in the face of African-Americans in Va.& throughout the states.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
  14. Brian D. Moneyhon

    It is interesting that those who have read no more than their school history books have no understanding of the reasons that lead to the Southern states to leave the Union. This is true of a majority of our citizens understanding of American and World history.

    This issue of slavery was first broached by the Lincoln administration mid-way during the war. I find it offensive that most of my fellow citizens believe that only blacks were enslaved in this country. My family first arrived in Maryland in 1757 and, without the ability to pay their full fare, were immediately sold into slavery until they had paid their combined debt. Yes, they were white and of Irish descent and went on to serve in the Colonial army during the Revolutionary War in the Navy. They were not the only non-blacks treated in as such.

    The real issue that lead to the Civil War was States Rights. This is still a real issue today. We as a society have allowed our Federal government to bleed our personal rights and liberties away and the states have been weakened by that same government.

    I applaud the Governor of Virginia for making a long over due recognition of a part of Southern history and those men and women who were a party to fight for their rights. Spend the time to delve a little deeper into non-school sponsored history. Terrorists my eye...

    April 7, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
  15. Pat

    First of all, I was born and raised in the South, in Alabama, where Montgomery was once called the Capital of the Confederacy. For Roland Martin to call Confederate soldiers traitors, domestic terrorists, to compare them to Nazi soldiers is offensive to me. I have ancestors who did fight for the Confederacy and believe me, they were not slaveowners. They were not traitors nor were they domestic terrorists. My grandfather was a sharecropper. To paint Confederate soldiers in that light is to condemn all Southerners. I sincerely doubt that the plantation owners who owned slaves fought in the Civil War. A better idea, why not have a month to celebrate Native Americans?? I mean Andrew Jackson is immortalized on our $20.00 bill and he sent thosands of Cherokees to their death on the "Trail of Tears."

    April 7, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
  16. Joe

    If there is anyone in this country that thinks that the civil war was only about slavery then they need to go back and studie history, Was all about state rights, The confedarate soliders are vetrans, they were in alot of cases drafted by the goverment and forced to sereve as many soliders did any all are major wars of this nation. To reconize them as not is wrong and in my opinion starts us down a scary road.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
  17. Clynn

    McDonnell's omission of slavery in his proclamation is sad but not surprising. The nonchalant justification and dismissal of evils against Blacks reflect the little regard the governor has for African Americans in general. When one sees a group of people as being of little worth, then what happens to them is of no importance and is therefore easily justifiable. What's truly disturbing is that this kind of callousness is written off as cool reason and objectivity, so no one calls it out for what it is – pure racism.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
  18. mary

    I am a white 55 year old woman, and just want to say you go Roland, and thank you Anderson for keeping them honest. That man was kinda scary.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
  19. Adam

    I think that there is no problem with having a Confederate History month. We have a black history month. I don't undetstad why it is such a sore subject for people. I also don't know why we should apologize for slavery. I didn't do it. I am not sorry for what my ancestors have done. I would not be sorry if it had been my father. I will never be sorry for things I myself have not done. If people would check their facts they would understand that their people sold their own people to make their selves richer. People need to get over it and move on. It is a part of history and it can not be changed. We all need to learn from it.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
  20. P James

    I think Tiger's (Nike's) commercial with his late father's voice over is more offensive and in poor taste, than Virginia's proclamation declaring April as Confederate History Month.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
  21. Lily

    Your guest says he wants to honor veterans. Confederate soldiers are not veterans of the army of the United States of America. Those Republicans who love to vaunt their patriotism now want to celebrate rebels who took up arms against our country. He talks about Yankee Aggression. We Yankees call it treasonous rebellion. The GOP was once proud to be The Party of Lincoln. It was Lincoln's anti-slavery stand that led to the secession. Mr. Martin is absolutely right. Honoring Confederate soldiers dismisses all the black citizens of Virginia. Your guest is right that we have not settled all the questions of that era. The hostility towards our legally elected president is evidence of that.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  22. Steven Greer

    I think that both sides have some good arguments. The South did have slavery and it was a major issue in the start of the Civil War. However, the Civil War is seen as the Second Revolutionary War because they were fighting for what they believed in. Yes that is treason, however, the 13 colonies committed treason when they revolved against England and if we didn’t we would be under the British control. I don’t think we should have a Confederate month but we should celebrate the time period because it shows where ALL ethnic groups came from, especially African Americans and Native Americans (because yes, they were slaves to, they were just killed off so badly that their numbers were small). It can show many that they way they think is old and they should change the way they think. To a certain extent, the Confederate Army was defending their land because the Union DID in fact invade the South, so in that way they are heroes, because they were protecting their families and property (and yes, that did mean slaves) but they were not heroes when it came to trying to protect slavery.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  23. Stephanie Herlory

    I just can't get over why Roland was so hostile. A bit over the top for me, I prefer good debate without the heat – chill Roland! It's important to recognize what influence slavery had in the history and role of Virginia in the Civil War. We all agree slavery was a hideous practise. But the proclamation is meant to recognize the Confederate Soldier, isn't it? Why is it necessary to drag the ISSUE of slavery into it? We can intelligently UNDERSTAND and LEARN about our history. Who said anything about celebrating slavery and bondage? I don't think these guys were on the same page.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  24. NW

    I think one of the issues here is that the governor of Virginia acted as if slavery was not part of the state's history or was not important enough. Very offensive. As you can see he had to back down and issue a new section to the proclamation. It is a shame that they are celebrating such a horrible part of our history, but I guess they have the right to do this.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  25. Glenda

    I do not agree with wanting to celebrate Confederacy and/or anything it stands for. I am from the north and currently live in the south and it was a culture shock to still see confederate flags and actually experience racisim in this country and this time. When holidays are established it is to celebrate what took place at that time and all the reasons why. For a while now, I have opened my eyes to realize there is nothing United about America. We are still greatly divided and unappreciative of the factors that took place to establish this country. Confederacy, Slavery, Holocaust and the complete extermination of Native Americans affects us all and are all in the same category under disgusting ignorant behavior due to power trips. I agree that a museum is tolerale, but with all historical events remains the very common question: Will the truth be told? No events and/or facts should be left out like schools teaching about slavery or governors declaring proclamations!!! Can't we all just get along?

    April 7, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  26. Britt Hebert

    Mr. Bowling needs to learn a bit about American History.
    The Republican Party was formed as a one issue party in the 1850's.
    That issue was the abolition of slavery. Because of that position, the South said that if Lincoln was elected, they would leave the Union.
    When Lincoln was elected, the South made good on their promise and left the Union. Whne they sought to take over the Federal property that was Fort Sumter, Lincoln as head of the government had no choice but to defend and provision federal property.
    Of course Rowland is right. The fundamental support of the Southern way of life was chattel slavery. And it had been that way since 1619,
    when the Dutch brought the first slaves to America. Without slavery, there is no way the South could have established the so called Southern style. Though many,many confederate soldiers did not own slaves,
    they fought more than anything because they knew that if the Union
    prevailed it would mean equality between blacks and whites.
    Something at the time NO white Southerner would agree to.
    That more than anything is why so many of them fought.

    For those who are interested, there is a very fine book by
    the eminent Civil war historian, Bruce Catton (along with his son William), titled " Two Roads to Sumter."
    Mr Bowling would do well to read it. He clearly hasn't

    April 7, 2010 at 10:40 pm |
  27. Betty

    I am soo tired of hearing about slavery. It is used to instill hate and remind people we are just a bunch of victims. Like a pity party and then a reason to hate. I really do like Roland but when he talks about it , i feel like he is trying to instill hate hate hate!! No slaves exist, no slave owners exist. The whole thing is ugly and i had nothing to do with it and neither has anyone that is currently living. So what we just want to keep the hate going on?

    April 7, 2010 at 10:40 pm |
  28. Beth

    Anderson, I'm in complete support of Virginia celebrating our Confederate ancestors! As an avid genealogist, I think it's about time that individuals be given an opportunity to pay tribute to their ancestors on both sides of the Civil War. We should have an open forum to discuss the subject of the reasons for the war, because schools in the north and the south have traditionally varied in the way children are educated about the war, even calling it by different names! While I am usually a fan of Roland Martin, I feel he has done the public, and in particular his fellow black citizens, a disservice by his outrageous responses. To give the impression that those from the south who fought as Confederate soldiers owned scores of slaves who were beaten and mistreated and put in chains? Please...only a small portion of our citizenry held slaves! My ancestors never owned a slave in their lives – they fought to protect their homes! We (white citizens) have been expected for years to tolerate an entire month of tributes to African-Americans and in fact it is thrust upon school children of all races. Does Mr. Martin really believe that this is a welcome thing ? As a Virginian, I applaud our governor for finally giving a voice to those of us who have for too long been denied it. Seems only fair to me.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
  29. E Pender

    Governor Mcdonnell forgot that he represents all virginians and to have recognition of the confederacy in any month is inhumane and inconsiderate to African-Americans everywhere in the United States of America.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
  30. Robert

    Roland Martin made a heated comment during the discussion on the Confederate History Month. He stated that not all Virginians would support "Confederate History Month". Being a former resident of Virginia for 22 years, I can firmly say that not All Virginians support Black History Month, but it is recognized. This is not an issue of "racism", it is a fact that individuals should acknowledge Historical Fact, in this case, the role of the Confederate soldier, the Confederacy, and the the Fact that the American Civil War was just that, an Internal struggle between different ideals within this Nation. Most Confederate soldiers were little different than their Union counterparts, "middle class" or lower, property owners who fought for their States more than for the larger concept of the "United States". "States Rights" was the battle cry at the time. The Revolution was not a distant past event, just 80 years prior and the struggle of Slave v. Free State, and the Slavery question was an issue during the creation of this Nation in the 1770's, heated in the 1820's-1850's, until finally spilling into Secession and War.
    Recognize History. A soldier's sacrifice, especially in the 1860's, when they often paid the "ultimate price" – death, from wound's, sickness, dysentery, and prison ships, should not go unrecognized. It is an entire generation of individuals from the Southern portion of our Nation wanting to honor their dead. Why is that not acceptable?

    April 7, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
  31. aj

    It just goes to show people need to really research these candidates and stop voting soley because they guy is a Republican or Democrate. He doesn't speak for all the people in Virginia, just his circle. But that's who people voted for. He didn't get my vote, and he doesn't have my support!

    April 7, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
  32. Mike G.

    The man representing the Confederate Soldier history group on AC360 stated slavery is unacceptable. That’s not even up for debate. Bottom line – the Confederacy is part of our history, and it should be recognized, not suppressed. African Americans have February to promote awareness, why can’t the state of Virginia formerly reflect back on the Confederacy. Bottom line is that if African Americans want the entire country (even non African Americans) to recognize their history, then it’s embraced, but if the Confederacy wants its history recognized, its persecuted. Double standard?

    April 7, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  33. Leona

    Everyone celebrates something in history why not let the south have their turn. They fought for their beliefs and their way of life, why deny them their turn? African americans have black history month so why can't the south have confederate history month.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  34. Shedrick L. Fowler

    The Governor of Virigina has committed one of the most shameful acts that can ever be committed

    April 7, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  35. kordell

    This is another example of why we as african americans dont align ourselves with the republican party,They dont seem to understand how offensive slavery was or dont seem to care.I bet if obama gave all blacks reprorations for slavery all hell would break loose.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  36. JDD-Ruffin

    I am a direct descendant of the Edmund Ruffin, the man who shot the first shot of the Civil War at Fort Sumter. I can't claim any honor for his actions or attitude for fighting for slavery. He was willing to trade the U.S. so that he and his fellow southern whites could continue OWNING other people! My great great great grandfather was not great at all, only selfish...as was most of the other southern people. I hate to see southerns now in these times defend their way of like then.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  37. Richard Bird

    I recently visited Gettysburg. A historian told us that only states which succeeded from the Union were required to free their slaves. States which did not succeed were permitted to keep their slaves.

    We have been lead to believe that the civil war was about abolishing slavery jsut as the Iraqi ivasion was about WMD.

    The civil war was more about the politics and economics of labor wages in the North competeing with the lower cost of.free slave wages.

    Of course the iraqi war was about getting the oil for the saudis so they could sell it back to us and the amazing business of halibuton servicing and rebuilding Iraq.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  38. Sam Kilborn

    I'll preamble my post by saying that I am a proud member of the Sons of UNION veterans and the descendant of a man who fought for the North.

    I feel that both Mr. Roland and the gent from the SCVCW are both right and well, wrong.

    The principal cause of the Civil War was slavery, and Mr. Roland is quite right in defending this. However, Virginia's decision to leave the Union was not completely based on the issue. It should also be remembered that Lincoln's reason for calling on 75,000 volunteers in 1861 was not to end slavery but to put down the rebellion. Abolition only became a major purpose of the Union about half way through the war.

    One of the greatest tragedies in our history is that slavery was allowed to exist by the federal government long before the formation of the Confederacy.

    I disagree with the assertion that the average Confederate soldier can be compared to the Waffen SS of Hitler's Germany. Most of the men that joined the Confederate Army did not and never would own slaves. Instead, they joined for a host of reasons. As rebel soldier Sam Watkins once wrote, it was a rich man's war and a poor man's fight. Its unreasonable to tell their descendants that their ancestors are akin to Nazis. Southerners fought in the American Revolution, WWII and make up an important component of today's armed services.

    Lastly, as a descendant of a Union veteran I resent a holiday geared towards the Confederacy alone. The Governor of Virginia would have been better to declare a Civil War holiday that would have honored, or at least included everyone and helped all Americans better understand this difficult chapter of our history.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  39. Larry

    Thanksgiving is offensive to indians!

    April 7, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  40. Danny Croft

    In regards to the writer that says it would be too painful for the black to go see a plantation or the likes. BS..... There are not any blacks alive who remember slavery. All they have is the memories that were passed down to them. These seem to get convoluted over time, and worse than they really were.

    My ancestors had over 70 slaves and they were treated like family.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  41. Kelsey

    Roland Martin loses credibility when he comes across angry and aggressive and shaming others. Not a good discussion segment for him.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  42. John W.

    Slavery was an issue, but it was among others.

    By the way – Lincoln didn't want to free the slaves in Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland because he didn't want to them to go to the Confederacy.

    Lincoln himself said the war wasn't over slavery, that is until he changed his tune in 1862 – when he realized they would fill the ranks.

    There were slaves in Northern states as well as in the South.

    Anyone ever seen 'Gangs of New York'??? True Story

    Oh, and who captured and sold the slaves here in the first place – oh that's right, the blacks in West Africa and they were sailed her under the flag of the United States. – Check out the movie Amistad.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  43. Gary

    I can't believe I just heard the white gentleman (sorry, didn't get his name) debating Roland Martin that the confederates were Americans and should be treated as such. The South seceded from the Union! For you who don't understand, "secede" means to formally withdraw from an organization. That means the Confederacy renounced their rights as Americans when they seceded. Confederate veterans have no rights and it's only through the grace of the Union that they are remembered in any way today. Give up – you lost – and you have no rights as a Confederate. You brought incredible disgrace upon this country and you supported slavery, plain and simple. Shame!!

    April 7, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  44. Larry

    Real shame!! Real Shame!! Real shame!!

    April 7, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  45. badeye

    no one alive today knows what it is like to be a slave. I am jewish and dont care who celebrates what. I dont give a damn if people celebrate
    green skin week! If virginians cant have a remembrance month then perhaps we should eliminate the month of february, black history month. lets give up the hatred it is so counterproductive.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  46. Marty

    If I remember my history class from a very long time ago, the southern states seceded from the Union and the Civil War began when confederate troops fired on a federal installation, Ft. Sumter. The beginning was not a federal attack on Virginia.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  47. Mary

    I am white and have lived in Virginia my whole adult life. This proclamation is nothing but insensitive, silly nonsense. VA doesn't need help with "tourism". Everyone knows Richmnd was the seat of the Confederacy and that much of the important Civil War history occurred here. There is nothing but divisiveness to be gained from this proclamation. Tonight Blitzer had former Gov. Wilder and some guy from the Sons of Confederate Soldiers (SOCS) discussing this. The SOCS guy actually complained that when Wilder (who is African American) was Mayor of Richmond that he would not help do anything to restore the local Confederate cemetery there. Gee, and I would imagine Jews aren't caretakers of Nazi graves at Normandy either. Do you get the parallel?!!!!

    The South has many things to be proud of, and a rich cultural heritage, which is why I have made my home here ( I have lived in every region of the US), but this is NOT an issue that needs to be highlighted. Move on Virginians; we're better than this.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  48. patricia pistorio

    Lighten up Roland. Get a hold of yourself. In case you don"t know there were many slave holders who did indeed treat their workers very well. There were very few slave holders in comparison to those who had no slaves. Lets have real look at the reality of the situation. go back to your history books. The real reason for the war was the issue of states' rights. The Emancipation Proclamation was a result of the war. Egypt had many slaves also. Slavery of any kind is terrible.
    No one is celebrating slavery.!!!!
    Speaking of the Jews, its amazing how dignifiied they stand and are not constantly trying to blame all peoples for their hardships.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  49. lucy

    The Civil War was not only fought to free the slaves, but that was the over-riding moral reason for the war. The Confederate soldier was fighting to defend a system which had as it's base the enslavement of others.

    Whereas we we honor American soldiers who have died for our country, facing a foreign enemy, it is hard to justifiy honoring combants who broke from the Union, and fought to up-hold the institution of slavery. Of course the private honoring of these men by their families and community is a different matter.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  50. Phil

    Why doesn't anyone state the obvious... the black people got here by slave trade. Otherwise they would not have been immigrants. There were black confederate soldiers too. Thank God things have changed and we respect each other for what we are. Wake up and respect the soldiers of the past and what they were told to fight for... and gave their lives for. Yes they were AMERICANS TOO. Deny history and it will repeat itself.

    April 7, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
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