Symbols and traditions of the days of the Confederate South continue to be eliminated, with Georgia now removing holidays attributed to the state’s Confederate history.
The Confederate Memorial Day and Gen. Robert E. Lee’s birthday have both been removed from the state’s official holiday calendar and replaced with “state holiday,” CNN reported.
Currently on the state’s list of 2015 holidays, Lee’s birthday is listed on Jan. 19 and Confederate Memorial Day is scheduled for April 26. For 2016, these holidays are referred to as a “state holiday.”
Since the murder of nine African-Americans in Charleston, South Carolina, earlier this year, there has been much debate on what to do with Confederate symbols, customs and historical pieces that are connected to the South’s former way of life. The alleged killer, Dylann Roof, is believed to be a white supremacist who used the Confederate flag on numerous social media websites to promote his views.
Georgia's Republican Gov. Nathan Deal notified state employees about the changes in an email last week. While the state will change the names of the holidays, the holidays will still be observed when government offices close down for the day.
“There will be a state holiday on that day,” Deal said. “Those so inclined can observe Confederate Memorial Day and remember those who died in that conflict.”
Shortly after the mass murders, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina called for the removal of the Confederate flag from state office buildings. The image of the flag has since been banned from appearing on license plates in states including Texas and North Carolina.
While many agree the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism, others believe the flag should not have been banned as it may violate First Amendment rights. Efforts to move the flag into a museum failed in the South Carolina legislature in 2000, but just 15 years later, Republicans and Democrats alike came together to support the removal of the flag from the state office buildings.