I am a Virginia native who has worked most of my adult life researching family histories obscured by the tyranny of slavery. I was dismayed to read Governor McDonnell's proclamation restoring April as Confederate History Month. This is at best a devisive move that looks at the conflict between North and South from only one particular viewpoint.
By all means we should not neglect the study of the Civil War but to ignore the impact of slavery is an insult to all of us. The Civil War was a horrible and destructive event that affected all Virginians. Everyday I work with individuals and families who's history is locked behind the wall of slavery. My work touches the lives of both black and white families. To declare April as Confederate History Month in the Commomwealth of Virginia does a disservice to our familes, our education and to the image we project to the world.
I do agree with Governor McDonnell's proclamation on one point. He quotes General Robert E. Lee as saying "...all should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of war and to restore the blessings of peace." These words are still powerful today. Unity can only be achieved by an open and honest acknowledgement of what has gone before. Obscurity and ignorance are our enemies. Knowledge and reflection will help us to understand that truly, we are all related.
Fairfax County, Virginia
Slavery Inventory Database