Arkansas tries to strip Gen. Lee from MLK Day

Arkansas tries to strip Gen. Lee from MLK Day

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Every third Monday in January, Arkansas state offices are closed in observance of an unlikely holiday: the shared birthdays of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Now Arkansas' Republican governor is reviving an effort to remove Lee from the holiday. But he faces resistance from opponents who complain the move belittles the state's Confederate heritage and from black lawmakers worried about a plan to set aside another day to honor Lee.

Arkansas has had a holiday in honor of Lee since 1947 and one for King since 1983. The Legislature voted to combine the two in 1985.

Three states commemorate both men on the same day. The other two are Alabama and Mississippi.

Associated Press 2017