A Mississippi city was at the center of Twitter rage Friday after calling Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by another name.
While announcing municipal offices would be closed Monday, the city of Biloxi’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts said the absence was due to “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
No mention of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, which is celebrated as a national holiday honoring the man who fought for civil rights before he was assassinated in 1968.
Then came the Twitter hate. So much hate.
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
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
City officials balked at the relentless online rage, pointing to state rules that call for the double-duty observance of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s and King’s birthdays on the same day. It looks like since 1987 the state has been combining the two birthdays in what is obviously not a logical combination. But a notice detailing observed state holidays on the Secretary of State’s website doesn’t mention “Great Americans Day.” Although, a city ordinance does.
The city also pointed out it honors and celebrates King with a parade and other events, but that didn’t put out the blaze.
Nearly three hours after the initial tweet, the city sent another message, this one from the mayor.
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
But it wasn’t enough and the drama continued into the night. At this rate, the online responses will keep coming way past the holiday, no matter what you call it.