Lee–Jackson–King Day

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Lee-Jackson-King Day
Observed byVirginia
TypeHistorical, cultural, ethnic
SignificanceSouthern History
DateSame day as Martin Luther King Jr. Day
First time1984
Last time2000
Related to

Lee–Jackson–King Day was a holiday celebrated in the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1984 to 2000 as a combination of Lee–Jackson Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Beginning in 2000 the state observed them as two distinct holidays.

Robert E. Lee's birthday (January 19, 1807) had been celebrated as a Virginia holiday since 1889. In 1904, the legislature added the birthday of Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson (January 21, 1824) to the holiday, and Lee–Jackson Day was born.[1]

In 1983, the United States Congress declared January 15 to be a national holiday in honor of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Since 1978, Virginia had celebrated King's birthday in conjunction with New Year's Day. To align with the federal holiday, the Virginia legislature combined King's celebration with the existing Lee–Jackson holiday, in tribute to "defenders of causes."[2]

In 2000, Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore proposed splitting Lee–Jackson–King Day into two separate holidays after debate arose over whether the nature of the holiday which simultaneously celebrated the lives of two Confederate generals who fought to defend slavery and a civil rights icon was incongruous.[3] The measure was approved and Lee–Jackson Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day were celebrated separately, with Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the third Monday in January and Lee–Jackson Day three days earlier on the preceding Friday.[4][5] The Lee–Jackson holiday was itself eliminated in 2020.[6]

See also[edit]

  • Monument Avenue, a Richmond avenue which had monuments to Confederate leaders and Arthur Ashe from 1996 to 2021


  1. ^ Berkow, Ira (November 10, 1990). "Sports of the Times: Dr. King and the Super Bowl". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  2. ^ Heim, Joe (2018-01-11). "Va. cities and counties increasingly want to make Lee-Jackson Day history". Washington Post. Retrieved 2020-01-23.
  3. ^ Duran, April (April 10, 2000). "Virginia creates holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr". On The Lege. Virginia Commonwealth University. Archived from the original on July 11, 2010. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  4. ^ Lefrak, Mikaela (January 12, 2018). "Why Does Virginia Celebrate Lee-Jackson Day?". WAMU. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  5. ^ Curran, Colleen (January 18, 2015). "Flair Fives: Five facts About Martin Luther King Jr. & MLK Day". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  6. ^ Miller, Ryan (2020-02-07). "Virginia moves to scrap Confederate holiday dating back to the 1800s and instead mark Election Day". USA Today. Retrieved 16 June 2020.