LR City Board approves resolution asking legislators to end MLK/Lee holiday

The Little Rock City Board has approved a resolution to ask legislators to change the January holiday honoring the birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They want the holiday exclusively for Dr. King. (Photo: KATV)

It's a controversial holiday in some southern states: celebrating the birthdays of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil War General Robert E. Lee on the same day.

Tuesday night, the Little Rock City Board passed a resolution to ask the legislators to repeal the January holiday commemorating the birthdays of General Robert E. Lee and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the same day.

Most city directors want the day exclusively for Dr. King’s birthday.

Supporters at Tuesday night’s meeting spoke to Channel 7.

"It's insulting to African-Americans, one,” says Kelly Duda, a local filmmaker and activist. “It's insulting to king's memory and all those that support justice and equality in America."

"There's no excuse for Robert E. Lee holiday to be on the day of Dr. Martin Luther King," says Rizelle Aaron, President of Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP.

City Director Joan Adcock spoke against the resolution, voting no and asking that her name not be listed on any letter going to the legislature.

"I feel like that we have enough problems in this city without trying to tell the state what to do,” says Adcock. “I don’t like the idea of them telling us to do stuff about the airport or anything else, and I think we need to solve the problems of Little Rock.

Aaron says he was shocked by Adcock's comments.

"She implied it wasn't a Little Rock issue, when in reality it’s every city in Arkansas issue,” says Aaron. “It's not just a state legislative issue."

Since it is a state holiday, the legislature will have the final say during the general assembly in January 2017.

Mississippi and Alabama are the only other states that celebrate both birthdays on the same day.

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