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State offices closed for no-name holiday formerly known as Robert E. Lee Day

Don’t tell anyone, but today is a state holiday known for decades as Robert E. Lee Day. Since 1889, Georgia has had a holiday to honor the birth of the Confederate general. But as the AJC first reported in August, amid the controversy over Confederate symbols following the Charleston shooting, the name of the holiday was struck from official state calendars for 2016 and replaced with the generic name “state holiday.”

Same thing happened with a second Georgia state holiday, Confederate Memorial Day, marked on April 27 this year.

But state offices will still be closed for the no-name holiday. And as a spokesman for Gov. Deal pointed out, the day still can be observed in commemoration of Confederate history for those so inclined, with state offices and the Capitol closed. More likely, it will be marked by state employees crowding shopping centers.

150727 Atlanta, Georgia (State Capitol Building): General Robert E. Lee. In Atlanta, debate over the meaning and propriety of Old South symbolism has centered on Stone Mountain's enormous carving of Davis, Lee and Jackson. Missing from the discussion is perhaps the most expansive paean to the Lost Cause and white supremacy in the State - the Georgia State Capitol. Counting it's statues, marble bust and gigantic oil paintings, the Capitol boasts monuments to the vice president and secretary of state of the Confederacy, Georgia's two Confederate senators, the state's Civil War governor, four Confederate major generals, two brigadier generals, a colonel, a major naval commander and a lieutenant. As a bonus, the Capitol collection also includes two men central in the forced removal of the Cherokee Indians from t in the Trail of Tears and numerous 20th century segregationists who did all their power to keep African Americans from obtaining equal rights. Historians say these memorials -- many erected between 1890 and 1930 -- said as about the leaders of that time as the people depicted. White politicians were solidifying Democratic power, holding together a political coalition of aristocratic land barons, New south industrialist and poor whites based on platform of maintaining the state's social caste structure. A century later, the question of what o do with that legacy is a thorny one. All photos taken on State Capitol grounds, or inside the capitol Building's 2nd and 3'rd floors Sunday 7/26/15 and Monday 7/27/15. (Chris Hunt/Special) for story slugged 080215 Capitol Art

Chris Hunt/Special to the AJC

BTW, with the Capitol closed today, so is the state’s largest collection of symbols honoring the Confederacy: statues and paintings housed there.

The nation did mark a holiday this year that fell on Lee’s actual birthday, Jan. 19. That was Martin Luther King Jr. Day.










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