Editor's note: After this story was published, the City of Biloxi has since officially called the January 16 holiday Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and deleted their tweets on January 13 and 14. The city also published Biloxi Mayor Andrew Gilich's response.
The city of Biloxi, Mississippi found itself at the center of a twitter controversy after it announced city offices would be closed Monday for "Great Americans Day."
Nowhere in its announcement did the city mention Martin Luther King, Jr. 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
Almost immediately people started questioning the city, upset over what appeared to be a slight to civil rights leader Dr. King, Jr.
@CityofBiloxi Y'all spelled Martin Luther King wrong. Bless your hearts.— Rick Freeman (@RWFreeman) January 13, 2017
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
@CityofBiloxi delete your account— Luke Beard (@LukesBeard) January 14, 2017
The city eventually responded, saying Biloxi does celebrate MLK Day and claiming the state named "Great Americans Day."
But as several media outlets pointed out, including Buzzfeed, a list of Mississippi state holidays does not mention Great Americans Day. Since 2015, the state has set aside the third Monday in January to observe the birthdays of both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert E. Lee, the general of the Confederate Army.
Friday night, the Mayor of Biloxi sent out a tweet, saying, "As far as I'm concerned, it's called 'Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day."
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
The mayor followed that up with a post on the city's website, calling for the Biloxi City Council to change the name to match the federal holiday.
Read the Biloxi Mayor's full statement:
Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, responding to a flurry of comments about a city tweet today referring to Monday as “Great Americans Day,” believes the Biloxi City Council on Tuesday should take steps to update the city’s Code of Ordinances to reflect the official federal name of the holiday, “Birthday of Dr. Martin Luthern King Jr.,” commonly known as “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”
“In my opinion,” Gilich said, “that is the appropriate step to take, for the holiday to have the same name as the federal holiday.”
Added the mayor: “This city’s longstanding support of our annual MLK celebrations speaks volumes about our support for this holiday. In fact, we’ve always celebrated this day as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”
The issue arose this afternoon when the city tweeted a one-line sentence that said non-emergency city offices would be closed on Monday “in observance of Great Americans Day.” The name has since been traced back to a City Council on Dec. 23, 1985 to proclaim the third Monday of every January “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 this country.”
(© 2017 KING)