Virginia delegate who said blacks should get over it (slavery) proposes Juneteenth measure





The Virginia lawmaker who caused an uproar last week by questioning the need for a state apology for slavery proposed a measure Monday that would commemorate the freeing of the last U.S. slaves in June 1865.

Del. Frank D. Hargrove Sr., a Republican from Hanover County near Richmond, said he has been deluged with at least 4,000 phone calls and e-mails at his home and office since he inflamed the House of Delegates by saying that blacks should "get over" slavery and that apologizing for slavery was no more necessary than asking Jews to apologize for "killing Christ."

Hargrove said the vast majority of people who contacted him said they support his views, but he also said that he never intended to offend blacks or Jews. He offered the resolution in part to reach out to those he offended, he said.

"I think we can all agree that the end of slavery was a good thing," Hargrove said.

Black lawmakers said they are happy to support Hargrove's resolution to celebrate Juneteenth, but not if it is meant to replace theirs, which calls for Virginia to apologize for its role in slavery. The resolution is intended to coincide with the state's celebration of the 400th anniversary of the English settlement of Jamestown, where slaves first arrived in 1619.


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Mitch Kachun - 1/24/2007

It always interests me to see new resolutions to establish a holiday commemorating the abolition of slavery, since such a national holiday already exists. Harry Truman signed a congressional joint resolution in June 1948 that designated February 1 as National Freedom Day--commemorating the date in 1865 that Lincoln signed the congressional resolution that would become the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. I understand the symbolic and practical reasons for which some prefer Juneteenth, but I suspect that most of those who are pushing for the Juneteenth holiday are not even aware of the existing one!

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