Slavery apology legislation in Virginia ignites first spark





A resolution that would have the General Assembly apologize for Virginia's role in slavery has aroused passions in the legislature even before the measure gets its first hearing from committees in the Senate and House of Delegates.

A Hanover County lawmaker's published comments that blacks should "get over" slavery were denounced on the House floor Tuesday by two black delegates who are supporting a resolution of apology. The comments by Republican Del. Frank Hargrove lit the first spark in what figures to be an emotional debate in coming weeks.

Hargrove made the remark in a story published Tuesday by the Charlottesville Daily Progress. In explaining his opposition to the resolution, Hargrove said today's Virginia has no responsibility for slavery and added: "I personally think that our black citizens should get over it."

The same story also quoted Hargrove saying: "Are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?

Hargrove's comments drew rebukes on the House floor from Del. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico County, the sponsor of the resolution, and from Del. Dwight Jones, D-Richmond, the chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus. Del. David Englin, D-Alexandria, also chided Hargrove for his comments about Jews.

"I am appalled that someone would take the worst institution that has ever faced Americans and tell the ancestors of those individuals that they should just get over it," said Jones, a soft-spoken Baptist minister.


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