Local NAACP pres., Sons of Confederate Vets commander meet to talk Confederate history month

By Scott Leamon  | WSLS10 Reporter
April 9, 2010

They believe it might’ve been the first time they met—- Roanoke NAACP president Brenda Hale and local Sons of Confederate Veterans commander Red Barbour.

Not surprisingly, Hale and Barbour have different perspectives on the flap involving Governor McDonnell’s original omission of slavery in a proclamation making April Confederate history month.

“You cannot negate what has taken place in this country and what has taken place right here in Virginia,“ Hale said.

“Confederate history month is to honor our Confederate ancestors.  The war started in April and it ended in April and that’s why we selected that month,“ Barbour said.

Barbour wrote the first proclamation for then Governor George Allen in 1994.

Barbour said he too omitted the word “slavery” but Allen put language in condemning it.

Barbour claims he’s no racist.  He said the proclamation is meant to remember the valor of Confederate soldiers.

“Slavery can’t be pushed aside and I understand that,“ Barbour said, “but Confederate history is not to promote hate.“

“What I want to express… is the Confederate flag brings fear and bad feelings to African Americans still to this day,“ Hale said.

In the end, both agreed to perhaps find whys to educate each other on their opposing views.

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