8 Crazy Quotes In Support of Celebrating Robert E. Lee on MLK Day

AP/Kaia Larsen

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Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama are the only three states in the country that celebrate Robert E. Lee on the same day as the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday. Their reasoning for the combo celebration is that the two have birthdays just a few days apart—never mind the, uh, conflict of interest.

Today, Arkansas’ elected officials had the opportunity to pass a bill seeking to separate the two commemorations. By doing so, Arkansas would join Georgia, Florida, and Virginia, which honor Lee—but not on MLK Day.

But this morning, Arkansas representatives struck down the bill with a chorus of nays. Below are a few choice quotes from opponents of the bill explaining why:

1. “Everyone in this room owes Robert E. Lee a debt.”

2. “You’ve got MLK parades all over the nation, but no one celebrates Lee! Well, a lot of people do, a very large crowd.”

3. “This bill is out to change our constitution.”

4. “It’s called American history.”

5. “I really wish we could all celebrate a non-separate, but equal holiday.”

6. “You wouldn’t celebrate Christmas in July!”

7. “Why are we doing this? We are chasing a non-problem.”

8. “Separate is not equal.” 

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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