Frank Hargrove, J. Rayfield Vines
Bob Brown  /  AP
Del. Frank Hargrove, left, talks Thursday with Dr. J. Rayfield Vines in Hargrove's office at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. Vines, of the Henrico chapter of the NAACP, confronted Hargrove abouit his remarks on slavery.
updated 1/18/2007 6:52:56 PM ET 2007-01-18T23:52:56

Angry black leaders called Thursday for a legislator to be censured for saying blacks should “get over” slavery.

“I think we ought to just kick up some hell,” the Rev. J. Rayfield Vines Jr. said during a news conference organized by the Virginia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

In a newspaper interview published Tuesday, Del. Frank D. Hargrove said slavery ended nearly 140 years ago with the Civil War and added that “our black citizens should get over it.”

The 79-year-old Republican lawmaker also rhetorically asked whether Jews should also apologize for the crucifixion of Christ. He was opposing a pending House resolution expressing Virginia’s apology for slavery.

In seething comments Thursday, state NAACP director King Salim Khalfani and four black religious leaders said nothing short of an apology by the Republican Party and a formal rebuke of Hargrove would satisfy them.

After the news conference, the group confronted Hargrove in his office. “We think that’s very insensitive for you to say blacks should just get over it when you haven’t walked in our shoes,” Khalfani told Hargrove.

Khalfani said he will await lawmakers’ action before deciding whether civil protests are warranted. But neither Republicans nor Democrats were ready to commit to censure on Thursday.

Even the black delegate who is sponsoring the House slavery apology measure was noncommittal.

“A censure is for someone who knows they’ve done something wrong. I’m not sure Delegate Hargrove appreciates how wrong what he said was,” Del. A. Donald McEachin said.

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