On Friday, the small city of Biloxi, Mississippi was rocketed to the national stage for a post made on their public Facebook and Twitter pages in which the city informed its residents that Monday was to be designated as “Great Americans’ Day.”
Of course, for the rest of the nation, that made up holiday is actually Martin Luther King Jr. Day – a day in which we remember the sacrifices great civil rights leader MLK made to create equality for all.
In the corresponding outrage, city officials, including city Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, said that the city has called Monday’s holiday “Great Americans’ Day” in official city forms for years. Gilich and the city declined to apologize for the original statement, but it has since been deleted and Gilich has called for the city to officially update their calendar to reflect the national holiday.
Still, many remain outraged for the city’s apparent attempt to cover up their offensive statement and for not issuing an official apology.
For years, there has been an undercurrent of racism and resentment over this day, particularly for individuals in the South who would rather remember the day as Robert E. Lee day, the leader of the Confederate rebels from the Civil War. Mississippi itself calls Monday’s Holiday MLK/Lee day.
Despite their sketchy holiday name, Biloxi does, like most cities, have MLK events planned for the weekend and for Monday, including a sizable parade dedicated to the civil rights leader planned for Monday. Still, by allowing their official name to disrespect the man, they cast a shadow over the entire event.
The racism here is clear, and yet places like Biloxi have continues to combine the two conflicting characters in one day in order to appease racists nationwide.