Lee–Jackson–King Day

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Lee-Jackson-King Day
Observed byVirginia
TypeCultural, Southern
SignificanceSouthern Heritage
Related toLee–Jackson Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Lee–Jackson–King Day was a holiday celebrated in the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1984 to 2000.

Robert E. Lee's birthday (January 19, 1807) has 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 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 maintain slavery and a civil rights icon was incongruous.[2] The measure was approved and the two holidays are now celebrated separately as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on the third Monday in January and Lee–Jackson Day three days earlier on the preceding Friday.[3][4]

See also[edit]

  • Monument Avenue, a Richmond avenue with monuments to Confederate leaders and Arthur Ashe


  1. ^ Berkow, Ira (November 10, 1990). "Sports of the Times: Dr. King and the Super Bowl". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
  2. ^ Sherwood, Tom; Moore, Molly (January 22, 1985). "Va. Holiday Honors Lee, Jackson, King". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ Lefrak, Mikaela (January 12, 2018). "Why Does Virginia Celebrate Lee-Jackson Day?". WAMU. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  4. ^ Curran, Colleen (January 18, 2015). "Flair Fives: Five facts About Martin Luther King Jr. & MLK Day". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2019-01-19.