Lee-King holiday split clears final vote; governor to sign it


Photographs by John Sykes Jr.

An emotional Rep. Grant Hodges, R-Rogers, House sponsor of Senate Bill 519, receives a comforting pat from Rep. Mary Bentley, R-Perryville, on Friday after the House approved the bill to separate the Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King Jr. holidays.

The great-great-grandson of a man who left Mississippi to fight for the Union got the last word Friday in a yearslong debate over Arkansas' single-holiday celebration of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee.

This story is only available from the Arkansas Online archives. Stories can be purchased individually for $2.95. Click here to search for this story in the archives.


Testingonetwothree says...

Lets pass a bill that makes all "holidays" like these fall on a Saturday...so no one gets another free day off.....

Posted 18 March 2017, 5:30 a.m. Suggest removal

RBear says...

Testing, that would need to happen at the federal level. States and cities honor federal holidays. Lee's day was never a federal holiday and was used by Southern states as an act of defiance by Dixiecrats at civil rights. It is good that this bill was passed. To Rep. Della Rosa, I listened to your comments in total on public radio and they are spiteful. I guess you would like to have Arkansas continue to honor the despicable act of slavery, which is what this holiday was about. It was never really about honoring Lee as a general in the Union. If so, why do we not honor a native Arkansan, Gen. Douglas McArthur, who had a much more exemplary military career than Lee? Lee did nothing for this state during his career other than leading many of our young men to war in a rebellious fight to maintain the states right to slavery.

Posted 18 March 2017, 6:24 a.m. Suggest removal

KnuckleBall says...

The Cowardly Governor can't wait to sign this one... but didn't have the guts to Veto the Bill making the Capitol Police a Secret Police Force

Posted 18 March 2017, 11:10 a.m. Suggest removal

cadams4904 says...

Support our veterans! No, we need to rethink this.....Rebel soldiers who fought and died for states rights are an affront to present day society. Let's forget about the sacrifices made by them a bury the whole thing. Remember the opening of the Clinton Library? Hide Confederate Blvd. I'm going to be sick!

Posted 18 March 2017, 11:42 a.m. Suggest removal

mrcharles says...

Real simple, you can perhaps question why a back man who could outpreach the rednecks deserves a day, but this Lee guy who took arms against old glory & USA, get over it!

What do we do to those who go fight for the jihad ILKS? Bomb, shoot , hang or other appropriate penalties. Like after WWII we coddled some them there Nazi for our benefit ,didn't make killers of our soldiers honorable men. Same Lee holiday SUPPORTING MAMMAS are mostly the group who still support Putin's bottom, POTUS.

Both sides who get so emotional over this keep in mind the trump card, Lee was not honorable killing USA soldiers

Posted 18 March 2017, 1:29 p.m. Suggest removal

RBear says...

HarleyOwner, black man stealing from a white man? Do you even think before you write? Let's take this back a century. Who stole the lives of countless slaves in the South? Do us all a favor next time and just delete your account.

Posted 18 March 2017, 1:42 p.m. Suggest removal

LR1955 says...

Why not just get rid of all "days off" for holidays, add on vacation/floating holiday days off to everybody's benefits, and let people take off and celebrate when & for whom/what they want?

Posted 18 March 2017, 5:20 p.m. Suggest removal

wildblueyonder says...

I know all you liberals are delirious over this decision! Question is, are ya'll ever happy with anything? Except YOUR way, of course.

Posted 18 March 2017, 6:23 p.m. Suggest removal

PopMom says...

I went to the African American Museum in D.C. today. I cannot believe that harley Owner believes that the whites have stolen from the blacks. It is time for everybody to put the racist nonsense behind and start to move forward. Lee was not a bad person, but he does not deserve a holiday. MLK does. By the way, I went to the Museum with a group from Washington & Lee University (Lee's University) where my husband attended Law School. The past is the past. Let's move forward and try to treat every human being with dignity regardless of color, religion,- or national origin.

Posted 18 March 2017, 9:03 p.m. Suggest removal

Log in to comment