Editorials

It’s clear, Biloxi — MLK should have a day of his own

Doris Gray sits with a program during the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist Church where King preached, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Atlanta.
Doris Gray sits with a program during the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist Church where King preached, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Atlanta. AP

The city of Biloxi should act quickly to clean up the mess left by its Great Americans Day tweet.

Knowing the city leaders, we doubt there was malicious intent when the city posted a tweet Friday that said non-emergency offices would be closed Monday for Great Americans Day. MSNBC host Christopher Hayes took note and tweeted: “That is not the name of the holiday” to his 834,000 followers, and linked to Biloxi’s tweet.

The city had deleted the tweet by Saturday morning, but it had already spread far beyond Mississippi.

Some Biloxians came to Biloxi’s defense, saying they know the city isn’t full of racists. That’s the problem. We know that. But the world isn’t so sure.

That world, because of Mississippi’s past, is quick to jump on any evidence that validates their perception Mississippi is stuck in the past.

We can prove them wrong.

It is wonderful Biloxi has called a special meeting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to strike the Great Americans Day designation from the city’s code.

Mississippi leaders bear responsibility for yet another blemish on our state. It was their coupling, in 1987, of the holiday commemorating MLK and Robert E. Lee.

The state from 1910 to 1987 had celebrated Lee, a commander in the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, on Jan. 19, his birthday.

But in 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated the third Monday in January as MLK Day.

State leaders said they did it merely to save money.

We’re not that gullible.

The state should separate those holidays.

Then there could no mistaking what holiday falls on the third Monday in January.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.

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