Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King’s Birthday on the Same Day?

Are some Southerners still that sore about losing the Civil War that they need to befoul a day remembering a man who sought to unify people, with celebrations for a Confederate general, who for four years effectively tore this country apart?

Although I am not a “person of color” as they now say in Atlanta I admired Dr. King’s philosophies and tactics. I believe it must be a slap in the face to the African Americans living in a southern state that indulges in this injustice.

My home state of Alabama is one of three states to commemorate both men with a state holiday. The others are Arkansas and Mississippi.
Undoubtedly, general Robert E. Lee was a brilliant military tacticians, but unfortunately they were fighting for the southern states’ right to keep slaves. I am not a huge fan of the Confederacy or anything that it stood for. I think that honestly, all of the fond memories and reverence that some southerners hold for “Dixie” and “Johnny Reb” is the reason why things down here are in some ways no different from 50 years ago.

So in my mind, celebrating Lee’s birthday in certain southern states seems overly spiteful. Especially since his birthday is conveniently placed on the same day the holiday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is observed.

Coincidence? The Alabamians say they had the Robert E. Lee’s birthday celebration on that day way before the MLK celebration became law…yes maybe so, but certainly they could at least give both their own day?


3 thoughts on “Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King’s Birthday on the Same Day?

  1. We lived for six years in Texas, which had been part of the Confederacy, and we heard some of the Southern side of the story there.  I do believe that any assessment of Robert E. Lee as a person should be separated from the overall Civil War story, though obviously they are interrelated.  Lee himself was a compassionate, spiritual person, as shown in a story I heard in church.  After the war, a white congregation was in the middle of Sunday service when a black man entered the church, to the dismay of the parishioners.  The black man walked up to the altar at the front of the church, knelt down and prayed there by himself.  Then one older white man rose from his pew and walked up to the black man, knelt down beside him and prayed with him.  This was Robert E. Lee.  I’m not 100% sure that this story is true, but I do trust the source.PS – I was an infantry soldier in Vietnam when MLK was killed.  Also when it happened to Bobby Kennedy.  Talk about a confused state of affairs!

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