Biloxi in Southern Mississippi changed the name of the day to “Great Americans Day” in a statement that notified the public about the closure of non-emergency municipal offices.
There was absolutely no mention of MLK’s birthday which is celebrated as a federal holiday in remembrance of the Nobel Peace Prize winning hero who pushed for equal rights using nonviolent civil disobedience.
In fact, this is not a one-time occurrence. The city’s official name for the holiday has been “Great Americans Day” for over a decade.
Their Facebook post, which has since been deleted, asserted the “Great Americans Day” was a state-named holiday and did honor King.
In fact, the city had combined the celebration of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s and King’s birthday under an illogical combination, as regards for the state rule that calls for double duty observance.
“Here in Biloxi, we embrace cultural diversity,” Vincent Creel, the city’s public affairs manager, told Huffington Post. “In fact, in the same Facebook page and Twitter account that everybody’s talking about, we’re touting our MLK Day celebration.”
However, after a search was conducted on Mississippi’s website on state holidays, there appeared to be no such name and the city, did in fact, felt free to name the holiday.
Since the state was Mississippi, where supporters of the Confederation still run wild, internet users are understandably angry.
Really, I hope the children of Biloxi enjoy Great Americans Day off, it's the last school holiday until Confederate Memorial Day in April!— Richard Jeter (@MilesToGo13) January 14, 2017
@CityofBiloxi There's not even a goddamned Wikipedia entry for "Great Americans Day."— Ryan (@ryanhealy) January 14, 2017
@CityofBiloxi Great Americans Day is the "All Lives Matter" of holidays.— Not Your Negro (@KompaKamara) January 14, 2017
Mississippi is so hurt about losing the Civil War and the end of Jim Crow ?????? Great Americans Day??? Come on guys...— Michaela Jacobson (@ShortAndSweetMJ) January 14, 2017
#GreatAmericansDay s existence is gross. The tweets, however... ??????— gospelrebel (@rawlingseliza) January 14, 2017
Live coverage of Biloxi, Mississippi. pic.twitter.com/UafmDd9ONX— Michael (@MikeFiveOhTwo) January 14, 2017
Balking at the onslaught of tweets, the city released a statement quoting Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich. They also admitted the earlier statements of how they had not created the city’s name, were mistaken.
From Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich: "As far as I'm concerned, it's called 'Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.'"— City of Biloxi (@CityofBiloxi) January 14, 2017
Gilich also said that he wants the City Council to "update the city’s Code of Ordinances to reflect the official federal name of the holiday, 'Birthday of Dr. Martin Luthern King Jr.,' commonly known as 'Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.'"
“In my opinion,” the mayor said, “that is the appropriate step to take, for the holiday to have the same name as the federal holiday."
“If there’s a perception of racism with not honoring the federal holiday and controversy over the name, the council would be willing to revisit and revise the 1985 ordinance,” Gilich added.
However, his placating tone did not assure the Twitter users, who kept their accusations of racism coming.
Banner/ Thumbnail credit: Reuters