Alabama Celebrates MLK, Robert E. Lee Days

Jan 15, 2018

(L) Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church (R) First White House of the Confederacy, both in Montgomery, Ala.

Alabama celebrates two very different holidays today. It’s both Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Robert E. Lee Day.

Alabama continues to celebrate Robert E. Lee Day despite continuing controversy over Confederate monuments and holidays. Mississippi is the only other state that still celebrates Robert E. Lee Day as a full state holiday.

Last year Arkansas created a memorial day in the fall for Robert E. Lee and removed the January celebration from the official state calendar. Georgia struck both Robert E. Lee Day and Confederate Memorial Day from the state calendar in 2015; the days are still recognized as simply "state holidays".

There have been attempts to remove Confederate holidays from Alabama’s calendar. So far, they have not been successful. Carl Jones is the First Lieutenant Commander of the Alabama Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He says his group has no plans to stop celebrating the holiday.

“We’re gonna continue doing what we do. And that is, you know, we are an organization that is patriotic in nature. We honor all of our veterans. The southern soldier is a veteran as well. He fought for the exact same principles that his colonial ancestors fought for. And that was the right to self-government.”

The Sons of Confederate Veterans will celebrate Robert E. Lee Day and Secession Day this Saturday at the State Archives building in Montgomery.