TEXAS, USA — It may not be on everyone’s radar but January 19 is a state holiday in Texas called “Confederate Heroes Day."
It falls on Robert E. Lee’s birthday, but it’s not just the confederate general being celebrated. The holiday is also meant to honor confederate president Jefferson Davis and other rebel heroes.
It was created by the Texas legislatures in 1973 and is a partial holiday, meaning state offices are still open but workers can take a paid day off if they want.
You might have noticed it falls just a few days after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. According to Texas Monthly, Confederate Heroes Day arose out of a fight over the holiday honoring the civil rights leader. While Texas has celebrated Robert E Lee’s birthday since 1931, it wasn’t until 1973 that it became Confederate Heroes Day.
In that same legislative session, a bill was proposed to make MLK Day an honorary state holiday. It faced vocal opposition, and when supporters pushed for a full vote, the state senate instead passed Confederate Heroes Day.
Over the years, the holiday has been challenged. In 2019, Houston democrat Jarvis Johnson authored a bill to remove the holiday from the calendar, but it never made it out of committee.
Another bill was proposed to rename it "Civil War Remembrance Day" and to move it to May, but that too got stuck in committee. Representative Jarvis is not giving up though. He’s proposed another bill this session to abolish the holiday.