Speed Reads

Awkward

Mississippi city faces criticism for calling MLK Day 'Great Americans Day'

The city government of Biloxi, Mississippi, found itself in a storm of online criticism Friday night after the municipal Twitter account announced in a now-deleted tweet that most city offices would be closed Monday in observance of "Great Americans Day" — not Martin Luther King Day, as the federal holiday is officially known.

After the tweet began to go viral, Biloxi Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich said in a statement that he believes the day's title should honor King and municipal code should be changed to reflect that. The unusual local name was traced to a 1985 city council proclamation that the third Monday of every January would be reserved "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," the statement reported.

Biloxi hosts an annual parade in King's honor on MLK Day, and city officials stressed Biloxi's appreciation of diversity after the Twitter incident. In 1959, the city was the site of a civil rights battle over segregated beaches.