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Arkansas Will Carry On Celebrating Robert E. Lee Day On MLK Day

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Arkansas will continue marking the memory of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on the same date as the nation remembers civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., after a proposal to remove Lee from the Jan. 19 holiday met opposition from state lawmakers.

An Arkansas House committee rejected a proposal on Wednesday to designate Nov. 30 as “Patrick Cleburne – Robert E. Lee Southern Heritage Day,” giving the Confederate general a separate memorial day from the one celebrating King. (Cleburne was a local Confederate general.)

Opponents of the bill said removing Lee from the Jan. 19 holiday would disparage their Southern roots.

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Arkansas has commemorated Lee every year since the 1940s, but only began celebrating the two holidays on the same day in the 1980s. The state recently faced backlash to the conflated holiday after being widely criticized on social media.


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