The Latest: Black lawmakers lay wreath in alternate ceremony

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Latest on events in Virginia commemorating the 400th anniversary of the rise of American democracy (all times local):

10:35 a.m.

Members of Virginia’s legislative black caucus have placed a wreath honoring deceased black lawmakers as part of a boycott of President Donald Trump’s visit to historic Jamestown.

Nearly a dozen black lawmakers joined for a wreath-laying ceremony at Virginia’s State Capitol Tuesday. It was one of several activities planned as an alternative to Trump’s visit to mark the 400th anniversary of the first representative assembly in the New World.

The wreath was placed below two plaques commemorating African American lawmakers who served in the Virginia House of Delegates between 1869 and 1890.

Del. Lamont Bagby said the lawmakers chose to boycott Trump’s appearance in Jamestown because they want to reflect on the good, the bad and “the ugly” of the last 400 years, including slavery.

The lawmakers also plan to hold a ceremony at the Lumpkin’s Slave Jail site in Richmond, where slaves were imprisoned and sold.


10:25 a.m.

Several dozen protesters have gathered outside a historic site in Virginia where President Donald Trump is set to take part in a ceremony marking the 400th anniversary of the rise of American democracy.

The protesters in historic Jamestown held signs and chanted slogans including, “Love not hate makes America great.”

Among them was 47-year-old Sonya Hull of Williamsburg. Hull said she was protesting because she has concerns about the integrity of U.S. elections.

She says: “I’d like to see the United States act the way it reads on paper.”

Several men gathered on a nearby street corner in support of Trump, who was scheduled to arrive later Tuesday morning.

Some Democratic lawmakers have pledged to boycott the celebrations because of the president’s participation.


10:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump says black legislators who plan to boycott his appearance at a Virginia event commemorating the 400th anniversary of the rise of American democracy are going “against their own people.”

Trump says African Americans “love the job” he’s doing and are “happy as hell” with his recent comments criticizing a majority black district in the Baltimore area and its congressman.

Trump spoke at the White House before heading to historic Jamestown in Virginia.

Black state lawmakers plan to stay away from Trump’s speech, in part over what they call Trump’s disparaging comments about minority leaders.

Trump said if that’s the case, “they’re fighting against their people” because African Americans “have never been so happy with what a president has done.”

Trump also tweeted that Virginia Democrats want to make the event “as uncomfortable as possible, but that’s ok because today is not about them!”


8:30 a.m.

Commemoration events are underway at historic Jamestown as Virginia celebrates the 400th anniversary of a key milestone in the rise of American democracy.

Lawmakers, Gov. Ralph Northam and other special guests gathered Tuesday morning at a reconstructed church at the site where the New World’s first representative assembly met four centuries ago.

Northam said the ideals of freedom and representative government spread from Jamestown in 1619. But he also noted the first assembly was significant for those not included: women, enslaved Africans and Native Americans.

Northam called that the paradox of Virginia, America and its representative democracy.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak later at a second ceremony.

His participation prompted a pledge by some top Democrats and the Legislative Black Caucus to boycott the events.


1 a.m.

President Donald Trump is set to visit historic Jamestown as Virginia commemorates the 400th anniversary of the rise of American democracy. But black Virginia state lawmakers are boycotting Tuesday’s celebration in part over what they call Trump’s disparaging comments toward minority leaders.

The president’s planned participation in commemorations of the first representative assembly in the Western Hemisphere has been shadowed by the political tensions, with Virginia’s entire Legislative Black Caucus pledging to stay away from Tuesday’s ceremony in protest. The first legislative assembly in Jamestown in 1619 formed the basis of today’s representative system of government in the U.S.

The caucus says Trump tarnishes the celebration because of his “degrading comments toward minority leaders” and “policies that harm marginalized communities.”

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham responds that the caucus is pushing “a political agenda.”

Categories: National & International News