Tuesday Charles Town Mayor, Scott Rogers, made an official proclamation apologizing for slavery and Jim Crow on behalf of the town and county.
“I believe you can’t expect forgiveness unless there is an apology,” explained Mayor Rogers.
“It did make me nervous and gave me little butterflies to come out here today. I was hoping it would be well received,” he continued.
Mayor Rogers presented the proclamation before the Jefferson County chapter of the NAACP.
“I saw a lot of the civil rights generation aging and I wanted them to know that their work wasn’t in vain. I wanted to make sure that they were able to see this proclamation and hear this apology,” said Mayor Rogers.
Copies of the official proclamation were given to prominent civil rights leaders in the area, including Shirley Tolbert, the wife of former NAACP president James Tolbert.
Jefferson County NAACP President, George Rutherford, says he can remember discrimination in the area.
“There was segregation here, I also experienced harassment. I remember when the Klansmen were here,” said Rutherford.
However, he can’t remember ever getting an apology, until now.
“This is the first time I can remember this happening in West Virginia,” he said.
“I realize that words are not enough and that we need concrete action,” said Mayor Rogers. “What I would like to see the next mayor do is create a civil rights committee. I think that would be a very powerful statement going forward.”