Posted on January 18, 2021

Virginia Holiday Commemorating Confederate Generals Won’t Be Celebrated in 2021

Li Cohen, CBS News, January 15, 2021

The weekend before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is typically filled with community service events and gatherings to honor Dr. King’s lifetime career of social justice work. In Virginia, that weekend also featured a holiday that commemorated the lives of two Confederate generals — until now.

Friday marked the first time in over 100 years that the Commonwealth of Virginia did not officially celebrate the former state holiday, Lee-Jackson Day. The holiday traditionally consisted of multiple days of parades and community events to honor Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson for being “defenders of causes.”


In 1984, lawmakers renamed the holiday Lee-Jackson-King Day to be inclusive of the civil rights icon, according to NPR. The general assembly reversed that decision in 2000.

Virginia lawmakers voted to remove the day, founded in 1899, from its official holiday list in February 2020. {snip}

The Commonwealth has spent the past year scaling back its Confederate monuments, in response to calls from racial justice activists.


Virginia Governor Ralph Northam tweeted on Friday that “we no longer celebrate a false version of history that honors the confederacy.”


Despite the Commonwealth’s decision to no longer consider Lee-Jackson day a holiday, many people throughout Virginia are celebrating throughout the weekend. In Lexington, organizers called “The Stonewall Brigade – Sons of Confederate Veterans” have planned a “religious revival service” at Jackson’s gravesite, as well as a parade, on Saturday.