Is "Great Americans Day" A Real Holiday? 'One Mississippi' Calls Out An Attempt To Rebrand MLK Day
The second season of Amazon Original series One Mississippi embraces the absurd when it comes to the show's humor, but it also incorporates commentary about real issues. In the Season 2 premiere episode, One Mississippi features "Great Americans Day," a holiday that allows the show's Mississippi-dwelling characters to address Martin Luther King Jr. Day by also honoring Confederate general Robert E. Lee. That holiday can't possibly be real though, can it?
Well, according to NBC News, the city of Biloxi, Mississippi announced "Great Americans Day" in some verified city social media posts in January of 2017. After the posts received a good deal of backlash, the posts were deleted. NBC quoted a statement made by Mayor Andrew Glitch which explained that, "the origin of 'Great Americans Day' was traced back to a December 1985 City Council decision that proclaimed the third Monday of every January would 'honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as other great Americans who have made important contributions to the birth, growth and evolution of the country.'" Glitch also added that he supported changing local ordinances so that the day would be known in town only as Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He did not name the person or the title responsible for the initial Great Americans Day posts.
The most realistic aspect of this story is that Tig and Kate, who both obviously are not buying into the idea that Martin Luther King Jr.'s honorific holiday needs to be shared with a Confederate general, don't have much they can say to dissuade the members of Biloxi who believe "Great Americans Day" is a fairer designation. In fact, one woman simply walks away from Tig's radio show while huffing about how "disrespectful" they're being by questioning the greatness of Lee. The show's absurdism comes in again, with Tig's many retorts about how the "both sides" the women want to celebrate are "good and evil," or how Lee and King don't even share a birthday.
According to Vanity Fair, it was One Mississippi writer Rebecca Walker who first discovered the story and decided to incorporate it into the show. "We were all just astounded when we found out that that was an actual thing," Notaro told the publication. "What a slap in the face it was to Martin Luther King." Notaro also explained that the writers room reconvened to work on the show's second season right after the election of Donald Trump, so the election was heavy on the writers' minds. "We were all trying to figure out where to go and what to do and how to be safe and happy... It was a never-ending conversation," Notaro said.
"Great Americans Day" might seem like something so ridiculous and unbelievable that it has to be one of One Mississippi's many comedic moments — but this strange story is actually taken directly from the a Southern town that made national headlines.