The Pulaski County Quorum Court will vote tonight on a resolution calling on the state legislature to end the dual state holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
A legislative bid to end the dual recognition failed in 2015 in the face of stiff opposition from defenders of the Confederacy. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has indicated support for an end to the recognition, but hasn’t made a formal proposal as yet.
A Pulaski County news release from County Judge Barry Hyde said:
“Pulaski County takes great pride in its longstanding tradition of celebrating Martin Luther King Day as a standalone holiday to honor his legacy and positive contribution to society and our community,” states the resolution.
“As one of the three remaining states that still celebrates this dual holiday, it casts a dark shadow on the State of Arkansas,” said County Judge Barry Hyde. “Continuing this practice diminishes the work and sacrifices made during the civil rights movement; furthermore, it diminishes Dr. King’s legacy. With this resolution, we are showing our support of Governor Hutchinson in his effort to encourage the state legislature to end the practice of celebrating the dual holiday.”
“The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission commends Governor Asa Hutchinson’s decision to support the separation of commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same day,” Commission Executive Director DuShun Scarbrough said. “We also applaud Pulaski County for their efforts to recognize the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his special day.”
The quorum court meets at 6 p.m. and it’s meetings are streamed on the web. The Quorum Court is majority Democratic and Pulaski County is rarely a positive factor in legislative debates. But who knows? A journey of a thousand miles and all.
UPDATE: This comment from JP Phil Stowers, a Republican:
I am a proud sponsor on the King Resolution. I agreed with State Rep’s Fred Love and Nate Bell when they ran legislation to this regard in the 2015 legislative session that unfortunately failed. And I agree with Governor Hutchinson and Judge Hyde in their current efforts to end the dual state holiday honoring King and Lee.
Although both men have their rightful place in the history books of this great Country, their legacies could not be more diametrically opposed. One man led an honorable peaceful effort to bring about equality, unity and a more perfect Union. The other led a violent revolt against equality and against the United States of America.
UPDATE: the resolution was approved 13-0.