The City of Biloxi got serious flak last night when it announced on its Twitter account 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
Great Americans Day, according to the Biloxi Sun Herald, recognizes a joint celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s birthdays.
More than a few took umbrage and questioned this curious holiday that on its face seems like a slap in the face to Dr. King. The person behind the twitter account seemed indignant when questioned by offended Americans.
Two hours later, the post also had been amended to add that Great Americans Day was a state-named holiday and included a link to its MLK events.
The Sun Herald reports that 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 told the Sun Herald. “However, whenever the state did years ago, that’s how it’s listed in the city’s code of ordinances.”
He added, “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.”