Roland S. Martin, a black commentator/contributor on CNN, went off the deep end today over Virginia’s declaring a Confederate History Month.
The man was furious that Virginia would declare even a minute’s celebration of Confederate history, much less an entire month. It’s nothing more or less than a celebration of true “American terrorists,” he contended.
(Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, a Republican, declared April “Confederate History Month.” He said his intent was to honor Confederate soldiers and boost state tourism; his proclamation made no mention of slavery.)
Interestingly, Don Lemon, also black, was anchoring the segment. He seemed quite matter-of-fact about the Virginia story and startled by Martin’s tirade. Martin is usually pleasant, dignified, and thoughtful, but he was beside himself over Virginia’s celebration of what he continually called “American terrorists,” a modern concept that didn’t even enter the lexicon until relatively recently.
Like it or not, the Civil War happened; it is a part of American history. Not our finest hour as a nation, but we can’t wave a magic wand and make four years disappear. Confederate soldiers, like Union solders, fought bravely for their way of life and what they believed in; Confederate blood was just as red as Yankee blood. Honoring their bravery and sacrifice in a state they fought and died for does not strike me as inappropriate.
Comments like Martin’s are out of place and counterproductive in this day and age. They perpetuate the divide that most Americans have moved beyond. The Civil War, after all, ended in 1865.
Update: Gov. McDonnell has just apologized for omitting slavery from his proclamation and is reportedly amending it.
Video of Martin’s remarks is now posted on YouTube.
Related Pied Type post: I’m not apologizing for something I didn’t do