Richmond, VA: Disdain for Blacks Continues to Dwell in This confederate Capitol

Posted on February 18, 2012 by


by Bro. Mxolisi

Nearly everyone who pays attention to such things heard Republican presidential candidate Rick  “Stone-age” Santorum say it – “I don’t want to give other people’s money to Black people.” This, as he was campaigning in Iowa, complaining that the state of Iowa might be penalized for failing to allow some eligible persons to receive Medicaid services. Of course he denied saying that, with what he hoped to be a politically expedient lie, saying that he had said “Blah” people. But we heard him. Saw him, too

Not so widely known (as of yet) is the emergence of that anti-Black disdain once again in one of the cradles of the confederacy, Richmond, VA., where one member of the

Del. Orrock

state’s House of Delegates — Republican Del. Robert D. Orrock, Sr. (Caroline) — has said essentially this: We don’t want to give recognition and honor reserved for other people to Black people.  And the state’s Republican-dominated House Rules Committee, on February 16, 2012, approved his proposal to disallow the placing of plaques commemorating the services of Black senators and delegates in Virginia during the Reconstruction period.

The Virginia Senate and House of Delegates both had passed bills to recognize and honor the little-known 83 delegates and 14 senators – African Americans – who served as state legislators for nearly 40 years during the Reconstruction period, as well as the 24 African Americans who served in the state’s 1867-68 constitutional convention. Ms. Viola Baskerville, a former Virginia delegate, now a member of the state’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission, has been the primary force questing for recognition of these historic persons – some born into slavery, farmers, shoe repairmen and others. The honor was to include two plaques – one each for the senators and delegates – being placed outside their respective chambers. The resolutions were authored by Sen. Henry L. Marsh III (D-Richmond) and Delegate Jennifer L. McClellan (D-Richmond).


Ms. Baskerville

“It seems as if the contributions of African-Americans in Virginia are being sidelined,” Baskerville said. “The diversity of the contributions to Virginia’s history and policymaking at that state Capitol building will not be acknowledged if you don’t have some sort of permanent reminder of who the actors were.”

In objecting to the placement of the plaques, Orrock said that it would have been the first time in his 23 years in the House that such was done without a thorough “vetting” process. He said, “Just because a group has a historical significance and is willing to pay for their own plaque” doesn’t mean the legislature should agree to it. “We have to look at what precedent that sets with other groups who may not be a part of Virginia’s history that we wish to memorialize. We don’t want the Capitol grounds to become covered in plaques and memorials,” he added.

The Virginia Capitol currently has plaques, busts, statues and other memorials for a number of persons (many noted confederate leaders among them) dating back to Colonial time, including Nathaniel Bacon, instigator of the 1676 Bacon Rebellion, which is held by many to be the single most influential event leading to the exclusive enslavement of only Africans throughout all slave-holding colonies. (Read about the Bacon Rebellion here:

Delegate Delores L. McQuinn (D- Richmond) called the Rules Committee decision a reflection of the disrespectful mood in the House. “We spend lots of time talking about

Del. McQuinn (bob brown -- times dispatch)

the Civil War and the confederacy, and yet, when we have the opportunity, we are not acknowledging the contributions of citizens of the commonwealth. . . . Here we are, all these many years later, we are still dealing with the same kinds of attitudes.”

Senator Marsh said he is still working toward an agreement that will allow the plaques to go up, saying, “I hope we can work it out.”

Can Black people get just a little respect? No, not someone else’s, but that which is appropriate and way overdue!!!

(For original article about the Richmond issue by Kristen Green visit: