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Lee–Jackson Day
Generals Lee and Jackson-1937 Issue-4c.jpg
1937 U.S. postage stamp featuring Lee, Jackson, and Stratford Hall
Observed by Virginia
Type Historical, cultural, ethnic
Significance Southern history
Frequency Annual
Related to Lee–Jackson–King Day

Lee–Jackson Day is a state holiday in the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia, commemorating Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. In January 2020 the Virginia House advanced legislation to end the holiday and designate election day a holiday in its place.[1]

Origin and name changes[]

The original holiday created in 1889 celebrated Lee's birthday (January 19) until 1904, which brought the addition of Jackson's name and birthday (January 21).

In 1983, the holiday was merged with the then-new federal holiday Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as Lee–Jackson–King Day in Virginia; the merger was reversed in 2000.

Observation[]

Lee–Jackson Day is observed on the Friday immediately preceding Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (the third Monday in January). Typical events include a wreath-laying ceremony with military honors, a Civil War themed parade, symposia, and a gala ball.[2] State offices are closed for both holidays.[3]

Many Virginia municipalities, such as Charlottesville, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Hampton, Newport News, Richmond, and Winchester, choose not to observe Lee–Jackson Day.[4] In 2017, the Town of Blacksburg decided to stop observing the day as well.[5][6]

Proposed elimination[]

The Senate of Virginia voted in January 2020 to eliminate Lee–Jackson Day as a state holiday; the legislation remains pending.[7][8][9]

See also[]

References[]

  1. "Lee Jackson Day, Lexington VA". http://www.leejacksonday.webs.com/. 
  2. "Lee–Jackson Day". Virginia.org. http://www.virginia.org/Listings/EventsAndExhibits/LeeJacksonDay/. 
  3. "Pay and Holiday Calendar". Virginia DHRM. http://www.dhrm.virginia.gov/payandholidaycalendar.html. Retrieved January 10, 2011. 
  4. "Charlottesville stops observance of Lee–Jackson Day". Archived from the original on March 5, 2015. https://web.archive.org/web/20150305161909/http://www.wdbj7.com/news/local/charlottesville-stops-observance-of-leejackson-day/31580906. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  5. "Town of Blacksburg Rules & Regulations Revisions July 11, 2017". http://blacksburg.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=20&clip_id=2042&meta_id=77323. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  6. Heim, Joe (2018-01-11). "Va. cities and counties increasingly want to make Lee-Jackson Day history". https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/va-cities-and-counties-increasingly-want-to-make-lee-jackson-day-history/2018/01/11/adfea9d8-f23b-11e7-b390-a36dc3fa2842_story.html. 
  7. Vozzella, Laura (2020-01-21). "Virginia Senate votes to eliminate Lee-Jackson Day, create new Election Day holiday". https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/virginia-senate-votes-to-eliminate-lee-jackson-day-create-new-election-day-holiday/2020/01/21/6eb8fea2-3c73-11ea-8872-5df698785a4e_story.html. 
  8. Chesley, Roger (2020-01-28). "Holidays honoring Lee, Jackson, were always a slap in the face for black people". https://www.virginiamercury.com/2020/01/28/holidays-honoring-lee-jackson-were-always-a-slap-in-the-face-for-black-people/. 
  9. "Confederate generals shouldn’t be enshrined on the calendar". 2020-01-24. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/its-time-for-virginia-to-retire-lee-jackson-day/2020/01/24/170cb1ca-3e0e-11ea-8872-5df698785a4e_story.html. 


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