|Robert E. Lee Day|
|Also called||Lee's Birthday|
|Significance||Confederate General in Chief's birthday|
|Date||Third Monday in January|
|2022 date||January 17|
|2023 date||January 16|
|2024 date||January 15|
|2025 date||January 20|
Robert E. Lee Day is a state holiday in parts of the Southern US, commemorating the Confederate general Robert E. Lee. It is rooted in the rise of the Lost Cause myth prevalent throughout the Southern United States, as Lee was a central figure in Lost Cause mythology due to his social status, military exploits, and personality.
In Tennessee, January 19 (Lee's birthday) was established as a holiday in 1917. In 1969, it was changed to a "special day of observation" in the state. Since then, state law requires the governor to proclaim each January 19th "Robert E. Lee Day".
Texas made "Lee Day" a holiday in 1931. In 1973, "Lee Day" was renamed Confederate Heroes Day.
Florida Statute 683.01(d) marks January 19 as Robert E. Lee Day, although no offices or schools close down for it.
Alabama and Mississippi observe it on the third Monday in January, in order to split the date with the federal holiday Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Arkansas combined the observance of Robert E. Lee Day with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 1985, after two years of requiring state employees to select between the two holidays or their own birthday as a day off from work. In 2017, it passed a law removing General Lee's name from the January holiday; the law also established a state memorial day on the second Saturday of October in honor of Lee.
Virginia observed a holiday honoring Lee on January 19th from 1889 until 1904, at which time Stonewall Jackson was added to the observance and the holiday renamed Lee–Jackson Day. The combined holiday was observed on the Friday preceding the third Monday in January. In 1983, the holiday was merged with Martin Luther King Jr. Day when the latter became a federal holiday. Georgia formerly called the Friday after Thanksgiving Robert E. Lee Day; now it is only an unnamed paid holiday.
"House Bill 126, 42nd Legislature Regular Session. Chapter 8. Approved and Effective January 30, 1931 as Robert E. Lee's Birthday.; Senate Bill 60, 63rd Legislature Regular Session. Chapter 221. Approved June 1, 1973 and Effective August 27, 1973 as Confederate Heroes Day. This bill deleted June 3rd as a holiday for Jefferson Davis' birthday and combined the two into Confederate Heroes Day."
Three states celebrate civil rights leader Martin Luther King and Civil War General Robert E. Lee on the same day.
The incident, however, highlighted an awkward truth about Mississippi's Martin Luther King Jr Day: that it is also Robert E Lee Day.