A state legislator said black people "should get over" slavery and questioned whether Jews should apologize "for killing Christ," drawing denunciations Tuesday from stunned colleagues.
Del. Frank D. Hargrove, 79, made his remarks in opposition to a measure that would apologize on the state's behalf to the descendants of slaves.
In an interview published Tuesday in The Daily Progress of Charlottesville, Hargrove said slavery ended nearly 140 years ago with the Civil War and added that "our black citizens should get over it."
The newspaper also quoted him as saying, "are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?"
Black lawmakers swiftly denounced Hargrove's comments.
"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 Del. Dwight C. Jones, head of the Legislative Black Caucus.
Del. David L. Englin also criticized Hargrove's remarks, recalling that his grandparents were driven from their homes in Poland "by people who believed that as Jews, we killed Christ."
When Hargrove rose to speak, he told Englin he didn't care about Englin's religion. "I think your skin was a little too thin," Hargrove said as lawmakers gasped and groaned.