Major Criticism After City of Biloxi, MS Renames MLK Day: "Great Americans Day"

Government, Race and Ethnicity

The City of Biloxi received major criticism last night when it Tweeted that that city offices would be closed on Monday in “observance of Great Americans Day.”

 Non-emergency municipal offices in Biloxi will be closed on Monday in observance of Great Americans Day.

— City of Biloxi (@CityofBiloxi) January 13, 2017

Angela Helm of The Root reports Great Americans Day recognizes a joint celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s birthdays.
Multitudes were outraged at this insult to civil rights and the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

The city representative didn’t seem to care when questioned by furious Americans:

While some are wrapped up in a holiday we did not name, please consider the big news coming out of Biloxi today:
—City of Biloxi (@CityofBiloxi) January 14, 2017

Two hours later, the Facebook post also had been amended to add that Great Americans Day was a state-named holiday and included a link to its MLK events.
Helm reports, “Biloxi spokesman Vincent Creel said the declaration of the holiday didn’t originate with the city, and he described the initial tweet as “innocuous.”
“We did not decide to start calling it Great Americans Day,” he said. “However, whenever the state did years ago, that’s how it’s listed in the city’s code of ordinances.”

“It is very frustrating, very frustrating for Mayor (Andrew “FoFo”) Gilich, for the city leaders, to be labeled as racist, when this is something we did not originate. We’ve got a long history of diversity and welcoming people to our community.”

FoFo said he supports the outraged Americans. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s called ‘Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day,’” he wrote.

Helms says, “Biloxi, according to the census of 2000, is a city of about 50,000. It is about 71 percent white and 19 percent black. In 1959, Biloxi was the site of what is now described as Mississippi’s worst racial riot (and that’s saying a lot) when a black physician and his friends tried to integrate its beaches in what is now known as the Biloxi Wade-Ins. Ten people died during the riot. The Wade-Ins ended in 1963, after the death of Mississippi NAACP field chair Medgar Evers, who supported the measures to open up the city’s beaches. The public waterfronts were not fully integrated until 1968.”

As of Saturday morning, FoFo’s tweet remains, but the others have been removed.

Does it seems strange to you to celebrate MLK day the same day as celebrating a general that fought to perpetuate slavery?
(Article by Jeremiah Jones)