Ethics Heroes: Doug Wilder and Artur Davis


Like everyone else, Doug Wilder knows what ““they’re going to put y’all back in chains” meant. Unlike most Democrats, he has the integrity to admit it.

Democratic flacks and media mouthpieces for the Obama campaign have thoroughly disgraced themselves and insulted the intelligence of the American public by twisting words and logic to argue that Joe Biden’s “put y’all back in chains” rhetoric was something other than the divisive race-baiting it was. Eventually, in such episodes of lock-step partisan dissembling, there are a noble and courageous few who refuse to go along, and black leaders Artur Davis, a co-chair of President Obama’s 2008 campaign, and Doug Wilder, the first African-American governor (of Virginia, where Biden made his comments) have stepped to the fore. Continue reading

When Leaders Are Phonies: Douglas Wilder’s National Slavery Museum Betrayal

The Washington Post sets the stage adroitly:

Douglas Wilder, phony.

“Nearly 20 years ago, former Virginia governor Douglas Wilder announced that he wanted to create a museum that would tell the story of slavery in the United States. He had the vision, the clout, the charm to make it seem attainable, and he had already made history: the grandson of slaves, he was the nation’s first elected African-American governor.

“He assembled a high-profile board, hosted splashy galas with entertainer Bill Cosby promising at least $1 million in support, accepted a gift of some 38 acres of prime real estate smack along Interstate 95 in Fredericksburg and showed plans for a $100 million showstopper museum designed by an internationally renowned architect.”

And now? Now the  U.S. National Slavery Museum project is bankrupt, filing for protection last fall. Claims against it total more than $7 million. The city of Fredericksburg has threatened to sell the land to make up for almost $200,000 in unpaid real-estate taxes. Officials have asked the court to either liquidate the organization or to appoint a trustee to oversee its finances. Through all of this, the Post reports, Doug Wilder has remained aloof, refusing interviews or even to answer phone calls. Having created the project, started an organization, induced collectors and other citizens to contribute priceless artifacts and documents to the aspiring museum’s collection, and accepted contributions, all in the justified belief that he, an established political leader, a powerful member of the African-American community and someone with access to resources and allies, would see the project through to a successful conclusion, whatever it took. Instead, Wilder abandoned the project he began completely, leaving to others the responsibility of organizing and guiding it, and making certain that its promises were fulfilled. Continue reading