On Monday, the iconic Martin Luther King, Jr. will be honored, remembered, and celebrated in numerous ways. Some businesses will keep their doors closed as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday, and has been for more than 30 years. Well, the city of Biloxi, Mississippi, is choosing to celebrate and remember this Monday, but they won’t do it for MLK Day. No, the city of Biloxi is celebrating “Great Americans Day” and the internet isn’t having it.
As reported by 9 News, the city of Biloxi hopped on their official Twitter account and decided to make an announcement about Monday’s holiday. The tweet, which has since been deleted, was posted on Friday afternoon and made no mention of MLK Day.
“Non-emergency municipal offices in Biloxi will be closed on Monday in observance of Great Americans Day. – City of Biloxi (@CityofBiloxi)”
Yes, there is no mention of MLK Day or Martin Luther King Day or Martin Luther King at all. Biloxi officials are simply calling it “Great Americans Day,” and it may be needless to say, but there were not a lot of people thrilled with this name change, or omission, or whatever it is being called.
Many of those on different forms of social media weren’t going to just let this one go without saying something. Some people were offended. Some people were just incredibly angry. Then, there were those who just felt sorry for the city of Biloxi and its officials as they ignored the name of a major holiday which is celebrated across the nation.
@CityofBiloxi Y’all spelled Martin Luther King wrong. Bless your hearts.
— Rick Freeman (@RWFreeman) January 13, 2017
Me arriving in Biloxi on Monday…
Them: Happy #GreatAmericansDay!
— Dab Aggin (@DabAggin) January 14, 2017
Some people even thought that they could help out Biloxi by correcting their now-deleted tweet for them.
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) January 14, 2017
After the backlash started pouring in toward the city of Biloxi, Mayor Andrew Gilich took to the official Facebook page and issued a statement. His statement didn’t seem to match what the city’s Twitter posted as it was much more appealing to those celebrating MLK Day.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s called ‘Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.'”
According to Circa, it wasn’t necessarily the fault of anyone in particular, but the tweet was posted because of how things are listed. Mayor Gilich said that the renamed holiday actually dated back to a city ordinance from 1985 and that is why the tweet said “Great Americans Day” instead of Martin Luther King Day.
The ordinance reads that the day is to “honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as other great Americans who have made important contributions to the birth, growth, and evolution of the country.” So, while Dr. King is not specifically mentioned in the name of the holiday by the city of Biloxi, he is included in the honoring process.
A bill designating the third Monday in January as a legal holiday to represent and honor the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King was passed in 1983. The very first national MLK Day took place on Jan. 20, 1986, and Biloxi’s ordinance was passed just before that happened.
Making matters a bit worse is that the Sun Herald states Biloxi was celebrating “Great Americans Day” as a joint celebration of the birthdays of Dr. King and Robert E. Lee.
Mayor Gilich did say that the Biloxi City Council should truly update the Code of Ordinances for Biloxi as soon as this Tuesday. He wants this done so that the holiday can be recognized for its official name of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
The city of Biloxi, Mississippi, is not planning on technically celebrating Martin Luther King Day, even though Mayor Andrew Gilich says he will be. Biloxi claims that the holiday has been listed as “Great Americans Day” for some 30 years now, and they don’t mean to disrespect anyone in history or anyone celebrating MLK Day. Still, you can’t post something like that and believe the internet, especially Twitter, won’t turn on you.
[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]