UPDATED 11:14 p.m. ET: Biloxi issued a statement quoting Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich at around 11 p.m. in response to the outcry over his city's tweet labeling MLK Day "Great Americans Day." In it, they admitted that earlier statements about how they had not created that name were mistaken.
"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,'" it explained.
Gilich also said that he wants the City Council 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,” the mayor said, “that is the appropriate step to take, for the holiday to have the same name as the federal holiday."
Original story below:
The Twitter account of the City of Biloxi, Miss., angered the internet Friday night. In a tweet posted at 6:18 p.m. EST, it called Martin Luther King, Jr. Day "Great Americans 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
One might have been tempted to chalk this up to a mental cramp, but this was not a slip-up; the city's official name for the holiday is, in fact, Great Americans Day. This has been the city's name for the holiday for at least a decade.
The city responded to backlash with a tweeting stating, "the city did not name this holiday."
Mississippi is one of three states that celebrate Robert E. Lee Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on the same date. Arkansas and Alabama are the others.
Biloxi posted a comment on its Facebook page stating, "The City of Biloxi did not declare nor name this holiday. The holiday was declared and named by the state Legislature. The city, in fact, as it has done for years, touted our upcoming MLK celebration in a Bmail and on the city website this afternoon."
However, one legal sleuth was able to unearth something that certainly looks like the city naming the holiday.
Twitter users were perhaps even more stung because Biloxi is a city in Mississippi, a state where Confederate pride still runs rampant and where a student placed a noose on Ole Miss' James Meredith statue last year. The social network was both bewildered and fed up.
That is...not the name of the holiday. https://t.co/oW01UYNH3I— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 14, 2017
@CityofBiloxi hahahahahaha someone thought they were smart and subtle they are actually dumb and racist. MLK = American hero— jp (@hotspurjp) January 13, 2017
imagine being this bigoted. https://t.co/CdX1qcCtZi— ant (@NoCosign) January 14, 2017
What in all hell?! https://t.co/SMJfbRQP6F— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) January 14, 2017
Live coverage of Biloxi, Mississippi. pic.twitter.com/UafmDd9ONX— Michael (@MikeFiveOhTwo) January 14, 2017
Someone at Biloxi city hall will be looking for employment within the hour.— Shawn Milrad (@shawnmilrad) January 14, 2017
Biloxi follows 6 people. I'll give you ONE GUESS who the only famous person is on that list.... https://t.co/4lM2Gupknc— Rocky Mtn. Radical (@Joe_Reinhard) January 14, 2017
Someone's phone is surely blowing up right now. It'll be interesting to see whether this holiday's name changes in Biloxi because of the understandable backlash. The city is already seriously on the defensive: