Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!
It’s a day meant to reflect on the legacy of one of the most iconic figures in civil rights and social justice the world has ever known. Millions are given the opportunity to continue his missions and recall his values – which means all of them, not just the ones mainstream America’s conveniently cherry-picked over time.
Well, that’s what the day is for most of the United States. Residents in Biloxi, Mississippi felt differently and came under fire for it.
Last week, the city took to Twitter to announce that city offices would be closed for something called “Great Americans Day.” Without even touching on how it’s eerily similar to a certain orange-hued President-elect’s campaign slogan, it’s not an actual holiday.
It’s not even recognized by the Mississippi secretary of state’s office, according to the Sun Herald. And a search into the past 20 years of local media archives show no record of it existing either.
The social media post was quickly the target of questions, confusion and claims of racism as local politicians attempted to justify it by claiming it was only following the city’s Code of Ordinances.
It should be noted that MLK Day wasn’t even celebrated in all 50 states until 2000 when South Carolina, the same state that celebrates the Confederacy in its state flag, finally observed it. Which makes it easier to believe that a city would try and pull a fast one and use some good ol’ revisionist history magic.
After all of the controversy, Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich called for the city to change its Code of Ordinances and observe the holiday as Martin Luther King Day along with the rest of the country.