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Former UNITED STATE President Jimmy Carter stated, “Robert E. Lee was a man who understood the values of a region which he represented. He was never filled with hatred. He never felt a sense of superiority. He led the southern cause with pride, yes, but with a sense of reluctance as well. He fought his battles courageously.”

As the United States popularMartin Luther King Jr Day onJan 16, 2023, a variety of Southern states likewise noted an additional historical number’s birthday celebration: Mississippi as well as Alabama popular both MLK as well as Robert E. Lee on the exact same day. The initially was among the nation’s leading Black civil liberties lobbyist, as you might recognize, while the various other was a Confederate basic in the Civil War as well as a slaveholder.

This coupling evoked a case that previous Democratic UNITED STATE President Jimmy Carter as soon as loaded appreciation on both Lee as well as King in a speech.

This is proper. Carter did certainly applaud the Confederate leader in a speech made onJan 20, 1978, according to the archives of The American Presidency Project, at the University ofCalifornia Santa Barbara He likewise discussed King in the exact same speech, claiming, “This month was a month when two great men of the South were born. One of them, Martin Luther King, Jr., who was not welcomed by most of us when he began with his lonely voice to point out the potentials of the South and the damage that was accruing to both Blacks and whites by racial discrimination.” He after that stated concerning Lee:

And the various other individual that was birthed in January was a fantastic leader, Robert E.Lee Robert E. Lee was a male that recognized the worths of an area which he stood for. He was never ever loaded with disgust. He never ever really felt a feeling of prevalence. He led the southerly reason with satisfaction, yes, however with a feeling of unwillingness also. He combated his fights courageously. And he stated once that words that was one of the most superb in the English language was “duty”– responsibility to our nation, responsibility to our area, responsibility to our next-door neighbors, responsibility to the high requirements spoken with us by God.

The large comparison in between both historic numbers has actually been kept in mind throughout the years, specifically as they can have been at chances in their worths, also as they came from various durations of background. Many say that identifying them collectively via the King-Lee Day was a method to commemorate 2 people that was necessary in theSouth

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“The whole purpose of the Civil War was to say that there were two different visions of this country and they were incompatible,” Clayborne Carson, the Martin Luther King,Jr centennial teacher emeritus of background at Stanford University informed theWashington Post “What King represented was an effort to heal that breach.”

Lewis V. Baldwin, a teacher emeritus of spiritual research studies at Vanderbilt University, likewise informed the Washington Post, “The fact that both [King and Lee] are celebrated on the same day speaks to what I call an ambivalent South, a South that says one thing and actually practices another.”

Carter was likewise not the just Democratic head of state to have actually commendedLee John F.Kennedy Jr likewise explained Lee as somebody that “after gallant failure, urged those who had followed him in bravery to reunite America in purpose and courage.”


“Atlanta, Georgia Remarks at the Southern Salute to the President Dinner.” The American Presidency Project Accessed 16Jan 2023.

Gordon, Shoshana as well as Jacque Schrag,Russell Contreras “The States That Celebrate Both MLK Day and Confederate Holidays.” Axios, 16Jan 2023, 16Jan 2023.

House, Mailing Address: Arlington, et al. “Restoration of Peace & Harmony” – Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial (UNITED STATE National Park Service). Accessed 16Jan 2023.

“Speech of Senator John F. Kennedy, Raleigh, NC, Coliseum.” The American Presidency Project Accessed 16Jan 2023.

“Two States Still Observe King-Lee Day, Honoring Robert E. Lee with MLK.” Washington Post Accessed 16Jan 2023.

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