- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2007

RICHMOND — A state legislator’s statement that black people “should get over” slavery and questioning whether Jews should apologize “for killing Christ” caused furious and tearful denunciations yesterday before stunned lawmakers.

In defending himself, Delegate Frank D. Hargrove Sr., Hanover Republican, told one of his critics, a delegate whose Jewish ancestors immigrated from Nazi-occupied Poland, that “your skin is a little too thin.”

Mr. Hargrove, 79, in an interview published yesterday in the Daily Progress of Charlottesville, voiced opposition to a measure apologizing on behalf of the state to the descendants of slaves.

In the interview, Mr. Hargrove said slavery ended nearly 140 years ago with the Civil War and added, “I personally think that our black citizens should get over it.”

The newspaper also quoted him as wondering aloud, “Are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?”

Black House delegates swiftly denounced the comments Mr. Hargrove made on the holiday commemorating civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

“When somebody tells me I should just get over slavery, I can only express my emotion by projecting that I am appalled, absolutely appalled,” said Delegate Dwight C. Jones, Richmond Democrat and head of the Legislative Black Caucus.

Delegate David L. Englin, Alexandria Democrat, seated next to Mr. Hargrove, spoke passionately about his grandparents leaving Poland “where they were driven from their homes by people who believed that as Jews, we killed Christ.”

As he held up a wallet-sized photo of his 7-year-old son, Caleb, Mr. Englin struggled to keep his composure as he pondered the possibility that the child might have to cope with anti-Semitic comments.

When Mr. Englin sat, Mr. Hargrove reached over and softly patted Mr. Englin on the arm. Then, Mr. Hargrove rose to speak and, looking down at his seatmate, said, “I didn’t even know you were Jewish. I had no idea of what your religion, [and] I don’t care what your religion is. I don’t care.”

“I think your skin was a little too thin,” he said as Republicans and Democrats gasped and groaned in disbelief.

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