Robert E. Lee Day

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Robert E. Lee Day
Robert Edward Lee - elder years.jpg
Also calledLee's Birthday
Observed by
TypeState holiday
SignificanceConfederate General in Chief's birthday
DateThird Monday in January
2018 dateJanuary 15  (2018-01-15)
2019 dateJanuary 21  (2019-01-21)
2020 dateJanuary 20  (2020-01-20)
2021 dateJanuary 18  (2021-01-18)
FrequencyAnnual
Related to

Robert E. Lee Day, also called Lee's Birthday, is a public holiday commemorating the birth of Robert E. Lee, observed each year on the third Monday in January.[1] Because Lee was the General in Chief of the Armies of the Confederacy, and to preserve the legacy of the prosperous southern slaveowner society he fought for, it is still observed in the U.S. South,[2] particularly in Alabama[3] and Mississippi.[4][5]

Although Lee's actual January 19 birthdate remains a legal holiday in the Florida statute books, by and large it is not observed.[6] In what is deemed as a vestige of racism or a contradictory oxymoron, Alabama and Mississippi, celebrate it together with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Arkansas combined the observance of Robert E. Lee Day with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 1985, after two years of requiring state employees to select between the two holidays or their own birthday as a day off from work.[7] In 2017, it passed a law removing General Lee's name from the January holiday and instead establishing a state memorial day on the second Saturday of October in honor of Lee.[8] Robert E. Lee Day is also celebrated in Tennessee.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tennessee Gubernatorial Proclamation of January 3, 2013" (PDF).
  2. ^ Berkow, Ira (November 10, 1990). "Sports of the Times: Dr. King and the Super Bowl". New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  3. ^ Little, Becky (January 13, 2017). "The Controversial History of Martin Luther King Day". National Geographic. Retrieved January 16, 2017. Three states celebrate civil rights leader Martin Luther King and Civil War General Robert E. Lee on the same day.
  4. ^ Holpuch, Amanda (January 14, 2017). Written at New York. "Mississippi city faces backlash after calling MLK Day 'Great Americans Day'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved January 16, 2017. The incident, however, highlighted an awkward truth about Mississippi’s Martin Luther King Jr Day: that it is also Robert E Lee Day.
  5. ^ "Robert E Lee's Birthday in the United States". timeanddate.com. Time and Date AS. n.d. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  6. ^ Mettler, Katie (January 19, 2016). "Today in Florida, it's Robert E. Lee Day". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved January 16, 2017. Government offices do not close down. Children are still in class. Not even the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Tampa do anything special on Jan. 19.
  7. ^ "Arkansas Ends Robert E. Lee-Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday". NBC News. March 22, 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  8. ^ Associated Press (March 17, 2017). "Arkansas lawmakers vote to remove Robert E. Lee from holiday honoring MLK". Politico. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  9. ^ Allison, Natalie (July 12, 2019). "Gov. Bill Lee Signs Nathan Bedford Forrest Day Proclamation, Is Not Considering Law Change." The Tennessean (Tennessean.com). Retrieved July 12, 2019.

Further reading[edit]