The mayor of a Mississippi town under fire over the renaming of Martin Luther King Jr. Day said Saturday there will be a special meeting to honor the civil rights activist “the right way.”
A firestorm was created on social media Friday after the City of Biloxi posted on Twitter and Facebook that non-emergency offices would be closed in observance of “Great Americans Day.” The posts were made shortly after 5 p.m. and minutes later the backlash ensued.
According to the Sun Herald, the posts were edited to say that Great Americans Day was a state-named holiday, and to include a link to various MLK Day events. The posts have since been deleted.
Biloxi spokesman Vincent Creel told WLOX-TV that the city became click bait.
“We’re being called racist. That’s not the people of Biloxi, that is not the mayor, or the city council of Biloxi,” Creel said. “It’s just unfortunate that we’re now being painted with that brush.”
Mayor Andrew Gilich said the meeting would take place at 10 a.m., which he’s expected to ask the City Council to change the ordinance to remember Martin Luther King Jr.
“It was an honest error. I think they just pulled the verbiage from it and posted it on the tweet, and when there was a reaction to it, there’s no cover up," Councilman Kenny Glavan told WLOX-TV. "You know, we’re all looking at it and saying, ‘Hey, we need to change it.'”
Gilich told the Sun Herald that the city passed an ordinance in December 1985 to call the third Monday in January Great Americans Day – a title that hoped to honor King and other “great Americans.”
Councilman Felix Gines downplayed the controversy, saying “it gives us a chance to straighten it out.”
“We encourage you to come out and live the dream, this is what Dr. King is all about. Dr. King’s dream is about fighting, standing in there fighting, not sitting on the sidelines. Fighting to make that change, and we are making that change," he added.