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Guests throw flower petals Saturday during the African Landing Commemorative Ceremony to honor Africans who died at sea during the Atlantic slave trade. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed Saturday an order to review educational standards for teaching black history, as the state marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the region with a series of events this weekend.

Why it matters: The arrival of a ship carrying "20 and odd" Africans from Angola to what was then the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619 is considered a pivotal point in what became a system of race-based slavery, per AP. The commemorations come at a time when white nationalism is a growing danger in the U.S.

The big picture: Northam said as he announced the review at the 2019 African Landing Commemorative Ceremony at Chesapeake Bay in Hampton, "We are a state that for too long has told a false story of ourselves." He said action must be taken to address such issues.

  • Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus and attended the event, told AP it was important to hear the truth about the nation’s past, "not just the parts that make us feel good, but the difficult parts as well."
  • In his speech, Northam — who was embroiled in a blackface photo scandal this year— said he had confronted "some painful truths" after meeting with Virginians over the past several months to listen to views about inequities that still exist — including his own "incomplete understanding regarding race and equity."

Go deeper: 2020 Democrats propose new approaches to slavery reparations

Go deeper

By the numbers: Where the earmarks are wanted

Expand chart
Data: House Committee on Appropriations; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is being targeted for the largest collective earmark request in the country, according to a detailed breakdown of overall requests released by the House Appropriations Committee.

Why it matters: House appropriators are trying to balance bipartisan momentum for infrastructure investment with "pork-barrel" spending's checkered political history. The data dump is an effort to provide transparency for what are now termed "community project funding" requests.

Democrats open to user fees for infrastructure deal

President Biden sits Thursday with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) as they discuss his $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal. Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some Senate Democrats are open to paying for a compromise infrastructure package by imposing user fees, including increasing the gas tax and raising money from electric car drivers through a vehicle-miles-traveled charge.

Why it matters: By inching toward the Republican position on pay-fors, some Democrats are bucking President Biden's push to offset his proposed $2.3 trillion plan by focusing only on raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

Progressive legal advocacy group spinning off from sponsor

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A leading progressive legal advocacy group is spinning off from the sprawling dark money network that seeded it, the group tells Axios.

Why it matters: Demand Justice's decision to separate from the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a "fiscal sponsor" for scores of largely left-wing organizations, will provide the public with its first detailed look behind the curtain of the influential progressive nonprofit.