Bill Honoring Segregationist Virginia Senator Prompts Walkout In Richmond | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Bill Honoring Segregationist Virginia Senator Prompts Walkout In Richmond

A statue honoring the late Sen. Harry Byrd stands outside the Capitol in Richmond.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/49394874@N08/5932721582/
A statue honoring the late Sen. Harry Byrd stands outside the Capitol in Richmond.

Members of the Virginia Senate are honoring the late U.S. Senator Harry Byrd, but not everyone is participating in the celebration.

Most Senate sessions begin with a round of pomp and circumstance. Boy Scout troops are recognized, and resolutions are offered to celebrate high-school football teams or retired dignitaries. But yesterday's resolution to honor the late Harry Byrd, offered by Winchester Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel, was a little different.

"As you know, Senator Byrd was part of an important Democratic machine that ran the commonwealth of Virginia for a very long time. And all 140 of us walk past the statue of his father, which is out here. His father was the 50th governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia," she said.

Almost all of the legislature's black members left the floor during the presentation honoring Byrd, a defender of Virginia's policy of massive resistance to court-ordered racial integration of public schools. A few white Democrats joined them, including Alexandria state Senator Adam Ebbin.

"It bothers me that someone who was a leader of massive resistance to close schools rather than desegregate them would be honored in this way," he said.

Byrd's two sons, his daughter-in-law and five of his nine grandchildren were in the chamber to receive the resolution. That's why Arlington State Senator Barbara Favola says she felt she had to stay rather than walk out as she did the last time the Senate considered a resolution honoring Byrd.

"When dignitaries are invited onto the floor of the Senate, they have to walk by my desk to greet the president of the Senate. So I just didn't think it would look right to have an empty desk," she said.

The resolution praises the former senator from Winchester as "a respected statesman and great Virginian.''

NPR

An Outsider In Buenos Aires Goes Incognito, For Love Of Tango

Carolina de Robertis' new novel God of Tango centers on a 17-year-old widow, recently arrived from Italy with little besides a violin. It's Argentina, 1913 — and a magical new music fills the barrios.
NPR

A Little Chiltomate Raises The Underappreciated Turkey Thigh

Elizabeth Wiley, chef-owner of two top Dayton, Ohio, restaurants, goes off-menu to cook beer-braised turkey thighs in her home kitchen.
NPR

A Reopened Embassy In Havana Could Be A Boon For U.S. Businesses

When the U.S. reopens its embassy in Havana, it will increase its staff. That should mean more help for American businesses hoping to gain a foothold on the Communist island.
NPR

Pilot In Solar-Powered Plane Sets Aviation Record

André Borschberg, flying Solar Impulse 2, set a new record of 120 hours in the cockpit on a journey from Japan to Hawaii.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.