By Michael Pope
In Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell is defending a decision to declare April as Confederate History Month.
Not since 2001 has a governor of Virginia issued a proclamation designating April as Confederate History Month. The last two governors refused to issue such a proclamation. McDonnell says his proclamation is intended to honor sacrifice and bloodshed on Virginia soil.
"I felt that simply as a point of history, to study the history of the confederacy, was something that should be done," says McDonnell.
A spokesman for the NAACP says that McDonnell's proclamation crosses the line – moving beyond a simple recognition of a dark chapter in American history to honoring the commonwealth’s slave-holding past. The governor disagrees, arguing that it draws attention to the state's many battlefields and tourist attractions.
"We’ve got more Civil War and Confederate cemeteries in Virginia than any other state," he says.
The controversy comes as Virginia is planning a series of events to mark next year’s 150th anniversary of the Civil War.