Confronting the Ghost of History

Virginia's Republican governor Bob McDonnell continues to go after it:

Virginia will preserve a Richmond burial ground that holds the graves of slaves and free blacks from the 18th and 19th centuries in time for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War next year. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) announced Wednesday afternoon that he is proposing that the state purchase a 2.5-acre parcel owned by Virginia Commonwealth University, now used as a parking lot, and donate it to the city of Richmond. 

The city will eventually remove the asphalt and install historical markers to create a walking museum in the area of Richmond, the former capital of the Confederacy, where slaves were brought to the city, housed in what is known as Lumpkin's Jail and buried. 

"As Virginia and Richmond seek next year to preserve history.... to promote racial reconciliation in our community, this transaction that will now allow Lumpkin's Jail and this old cemetery to be made open to public view could be part of what we commemorate next year as we tell people young and old about Richmond's role and learn from what happened 150 years ago,'' McDonnell said.

At this point, McDonnell is just showing off. All kidding aside, this really is laudable. It shows how far Virginia has come. It's also worth thinking about McDonnell's response to his state's history, when compared to Haley Barbour's. One governor is taking action to preserve the final resting place of slaves and free blacks. The other governor is decorating his office with the standard of an Army which kidnapped American citizens and sold them South.