April 9th, 2010
08:22 AM ET

Obama: Virginia gov. slavery omission 'unacceptable'

Virginia's proclamation of Confederate History Month without any reference to slavery was unacceptable, President Obama said in an interview broadcast Friday.

"Well, you know, I'm a big history buff. And I think that understanding the history of the Confederacy and understanding the history of the Civil War is something that every American and every young American should, should be a part of," he told ABC in an interview taped Thursday. "Now, I don't think you can understand the Confederacy and the Civil War unless you understand slavery. And so, I think that was a - an unacceptable omission. I think the governor's now acknowledged that."

Obama was referring to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who apologized Wednesday for leaving out any reference to slavery in his recent proclamation designating April as Confederate History Month, calling it a "major omission." McDonnell also said he would amend the proclamation.

Asked by ABC to weigh in on the dispute, the nation's first African-American president said, "I think it's just a reminder that when we talk about issues like slavery that are so fraught with pain and emotion, that, you know, we, we'd better do so thinking through how this is going to affect a lot of people. And their sense of whether they're part of a commonwealth or part of our broader society."

Post by:
Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Katie

    That's like making a speech for Native American History Month and not mentioning the fact that the settlers killed and relocated most of the Native Americans to the point of near extinction. We have to admit that we've been the bad guys in the past even though it's not pretty.

    April 9, 2010 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. bonnie in chicago

    I was born in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1948. I attended elementary school in Dallas. As a white, female child, I listened to the adult conversations...ike a fly on the wall. Even as a child, I clearly saw what the idea of Confederacy stood for....the "Old Boys Club", white supremacy, keeping minorities in their place socially and economically, "states rights" to own slaves, hatred of the North for destroying that way of life. They know demographics in America are changing, and many whites fear a future where they may not be the majority. Now, we have a President who represents that possible future...because he is black. This fear of the future has led to a battle cry of white unification symbolized by the Confederacy and it's flag. This, of course, is only my opinion. But I think it's a strange dance politicians are doing to persuade public perception what the Confederacy does and does not represent. They know. Ask any fly on the wall.

    April 9, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. Debbie

    It is a very intentional omission...another passive aggressive disrespect to the President. If that isn't true than you can definately call McDonnell and incompetant IDIOT.

    April 9, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jack in Pecos

    I was born in Pecos, Texas in 1982. I attended elementary school there. As a white, male child, I listened to the adult conversations...like a fly on the wall. Even as a child, I clearly saw what the idea of Confederacy stood for ... the notion of self governance, without interference from people with more education than common sense. There was never any talk of regret for the loss of slaves, even though not many years before, as much cotton was grown in the Pecos River valley as anywhere in the country. The point always came back to self determination; not with regards to abolition, but the government's attitude towards the south just prior to abolition. Now, demographics in America are changing, but for the white population in a town predominantly Hispanic, it is not really a concern. The fear our current president instills in that white population comes not from his race, but from his undeniable penchant for socialism, which this nation has fought for the better part of a century. Those I know agree that the color of our president's skin is one of the few things they DON'T hold against him. But this HAS led to a battle cry rallying some around the confederate flag, and I assure you, no white hoods or robes are present. The rallying is happening for the same reason it happened a century and a half ago: someone in Washington is imposing his will with absolutely no regard for ours.

    Bonnie has given you her opinion, and now I have given you mine, though from the confines of Chicago, I doubt she can tell you which of us most Texans would agree with.

    April 11, 2010 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |