Former Gov. Wilder says Virginia will get past ‘moment of upheaval’

Doug Wilder

Former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder listens to a question from the media during a news conference at the State Capitol in Richmond, Thursday, May 8, 2014. Wilder said he is in “preliminary discussions” with the owners of the former First African Baptist Church to use the sanctuary as the future home of the slavery […]

RICHMOND, Va (WAVY) — Former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder is speaking out amid a tumultuous time in Virginia politics.

In a post on his personal blog, Wilder said, “It pains me to read or hear people of Virginia now being described as hidebound to the past.” 

Wilder, who was Virginia’s first African American governor, said in the post he “lived in the segregated neighborhoods, attended the segregated schools” during his childhood and as an adult. 

The former governor added that  he believes Virginia will not go back on progress made across racial and party lines. 

… to show you how people soon forget, I was elected Lieutenant Governor and Governor, and Barack Obama carried Virginia twice. No other southern state can make those claims.

Wilder’ blog comes as Virginia’s three top elected officials are embroiled in controversies involving race or sex.

Special Coverage: Commonwealth in Crisis

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has denied allegations from two women who claim they were sexually assaulted by Fairfax in the 2000s. He has also called for authorities, including the FBI, to investigate.

Democratic Del. Patrick Hope on Monday backed off his plans to swiftly introduce an impeachment bill seeking the ouster of Fairfax.

Meanwhile, Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring are still trying to regain their political standing after awkwardly acknowledging that they each once wore blackface as young men in the 1980s.

Late last week, news broke that Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment was managing editor of the 1968 yearbook for the Virginia Military Institute, which included racial slurs and at least one image of a person in blackface.

Norment condemned the use of blackface in a statement, saying he isn’t in nor did he take any of the photos in question.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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