Bob McDonnell Leaves Out Slavery From 'Confederate History Month' Proclamation: Not 'Significant' Enough First Posted: 04- 7-10 01:55 PM | Updated: 04- 7-10 03:05 PM Just in case Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's declaration of April as "Confederate History Month" wasn't controversial enough, he caused additional outcry Tuesday by explaining why he chose to leave out any reference of "slavery" in his proclamation. From the Washington Post: McDonnell said Tuesday that the move was designed to promote tourism in the state, which next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the war. McDonnell said he did not include a reference to slavery because "there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia." Though the declaration of "Confederate History Month" in Virginia is not a new idea, McDonnell's recent Democratic predecessors chose not to recognize the celebration. Prior proclamations have also been more careful about the sensitive nature of the historical period. Former Republican Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore explicitly mentioned slavery in his 1999 declaration of "Confederate History Month," and though his predecessor, Republican George Allen, neglected to recognize slavery in a similar proclamation, he apologized after coming under heavy fire from civil rights activists. According to the Washington Post, McDonnell's proclamation has so far been condemned by the NAACP, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and former Virginia Gov. Former L. Douglas Wilder, the first African American to be elected Governor, among others. UPDATE: The Richmond Times-Dispatch, which endorsed McDonnell during his run for Governor, published a harsh rebuke of the wording in McDonnell's proclamation Wednesday, Greg Sargent reports. From the Times-Dispatch editorial: "McDonnell speaks of shared history, yet does not cite slaves. Southern heritage includes not only those who supported the Confederacy but those who welcomed the Union armies as liberators. McDonnell recognizes that the past must be interpreted within the context not only of its times but of ours. The inexcusable omission reduces the slaves and their descendants to invisibility once again."