Biloxi renames ‘Great Americans Day’ to honor MLK after national backlash

January 17, 2017 in News

Biloxi Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich speaks with residents prior to the start of Monday's special call meeting of the Biloxi City Council. (City of Biloxi)

Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich speaks with residents prior to the start of Monday’s special call meeting of the Biloxi City Council. (City of Biloxi)

BILOXI, Mississippi (AP) — The City of Biloxi has decided to ditch “Great Americans Day” and rename it to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

The Biloxi City Council voted 6-0 to make the change Monday. The Sun Heraldreports the vote came moments before the beginning of an annual parade honoring the slain civil rights leader.

Monday was a federal holiday and was recognized in most of the United States as MLK Day. In three states — Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas — the holiday has a dual designation honoring King and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

 The change follows an uproar on social media that erupted after a Biloxi spokesman posted that city offices would be closed for Great Americans Day. Although there is no “Great Americans Day” recognized at either the state or federal level, the City of Biloxi created the designation by ordinance in 1985.

The post was met with widespread condemnation, locally, statewide and nationally. After initially attempting to justify the post, officials deleted the original post.