Alabama, Mississippi still jointly celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee

(WKRG) - Monday, January 15 was not just about commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. in Alabama. The state is one of only two states in the United States that still celebrates Robert E. Lee's birthday and Martin Luther King Jr. on the same day. 

Both MLK Day and Robert E. Lee Day are celebrated on the third Monday in January in Alabama and Mississippi. 

Lawmakers in Mississippi are trying to change the when the two holidays are celebrated. According to our sister station WJTV in Jackson, Miss., House Democrat Kabir Karriem has presented a bill that would change when the state celebrates two holidays. If passed, the bill would designate the third Monday in January as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and would designate the fourth Monday in January as Robert E. Lee’s birthday. 

In Arkansas, a ceremony outside the State Capitol on Monday marked Arkansas's inaugural MLK exclusive holiday. In March of 2017, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law Senate Bill 519, which eliminated the dual holiday status and concurrent commemoration of General Robert E. Lee and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Today marks the first Dr. King holiday since that historic separation, reports our sister station, KARK. 

Both Alabama and Mississippi have commemorated Robert E. Lee's birthday since the 1800s and Martin Luther King Jr's since 1983. Lee was born on January 19, 1807; King was born on January 15, 1929. 

The holiday is one of three Confederate-related holiday's on Alabama's official holiday calendar, reported. Alabama also marks Confederate Memorial Day on the fourth Monday in April and the birthday of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis on the first Monday in June. 

Click here for the list of official Alabama state holidays. 





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