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Where Was Doug Wilder? (Updated)

Anita Kumar

Thousands of people withstood the 90-plus-degree heat today for the unveiling of a monument outside the state Capitol that commemorates those who helped bring about the end of school segregation across the state and nation.

They included NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, actor Blair Underwood, poet Nikki Giovanni, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, former governor Mark R. Warner, Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, House Speaker William J. Howell and several other members of the General Assembly.

But L. Douglas Wilder, the nation's first elected black governor, who now serves as Richmond's mayor, was noticeably absent.

"He wanted to be there,'' Wilder spokesman Linwood Norman said later. But, Norman said, Wilder was out of town on a long-planned trip.

But Sen. Barack Obama, the first African-American to head a major party presidential ticket, released a statement on the memorial.

"Congratulations to the people of Richmond and all of Virginia for honoring their own heroes in the story of the civil rights movement,'' Obama said. "As we keep working to close racial and economic gaps in education, health care, and the justice system, we keep the Virginians it honors in mind as a shining example that people who love their country can change it."

Also missing at the unveiling was Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R), who was attending the annual meeting of the National Lieutenant Governor's Association in Buffalo, N.Y., where he is expected to be elected vice chairman.

By Anita Kumar  |  July 21, 2008; 3:08 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Creigh Deeds , General Assembly 2008 , Mark Warner , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine  
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