Biloxi slammed as it declares Monday 'Great Americans Day'

A social media firestorm in Biloxi rages through the country and city officials are working to douse the flames, hoping there won't be any damage left behind.

The social media post was innocent enough: Operations would be closed on the third Monday of the month. But not for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For Great Americans Day - the city's designation since 1985.

But the country didn't like it.

Biloxi spokesman Vincent Creel says the city became "click bait."

"We're being called racist. That is not the people of Biloxi; that is not the mayor or the city council of Biloxi. It's just unfortunate that we're now being painted with that brush," Creel said.

Creel says it's disheartening, given that the city has done a lot for the MLK celebration.

But a name change is coming.

"It was an honest error. I think they just pulled the verbiage from it and posted it on the tweet and when there was a reaction to it, there's no cover up. You know, we're all looking at it and saying, 'hey, we need to change it,'" Biloxi City Councilman Kenny Glavan said.

The council will meet Monday to reconsider the designation.

"It brought a light to everything, which is great. Because it gives us a chance to straighten it out," Councilman Felix Gines said.

And officials hope to avoid any long-term damage.

"We encourage you to come out and live the dream. This is what Dr. King is all about. Dr. King's dream is about fighting, standing in there fighting. Not sitting on the sidelines. Fighting to make that change. And we are making that change," Gines said.

Resident Glenda Crawford says it was an overreaction.

"Biloxi is so different than what they made it out to be. Everybody here sees no color. We're all one here. We all get along as one," Crawford said.

The council meeting will be at 10 a.m. Monday. Officials hope to turn it into a mini-celebration event.
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