POLITICS
01/16/2017 08:31 pm ET

Google Maps Sorry For Marking Robert E. Lee Day Instead Of MLK In Southern Listings

The Confederate general's birthday was given for some business closures in Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi.
Marchers in Atlanta know whom the federal holiday honors on Monday: Martin Luther King Jr.
Paras Griffin via Getty Images
Marchers in Atlanta know whom the federal holiday honors on Monday: Martin Luther King Jr.

Google Maps has apologized for recognizing a holiday in honor of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee instead of Martin Luther King Jr. in some business listings in the South.

Google noted that some businesses in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi might be closed because of state holidays honoring the commanding general of the Confederate Army during the Civil War — failing to mention the federal holiday honoring the civil rights leader.

The three states still honor Lee’s birthday 30 years after the federal government established Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the same day of the month each year: the third Monday of January. Lee was born on Jan. 19, 1807; King was born Jan. 15, 1929.

Google has issued an apology for the jarring listing and said it was working as quickly as possible to fix the problem. The listings were automatically marked by Google and not by the businesses.

“The holiday-hours feature lets people know when a business could be closed,” said a statement emailed to The Birmingham News. “Unfortunately, in the three states where Robert E. Lee’s birthday is recognized as well, the feature is not surfacing Martin Luther King Day as it should be. We apologize for any offense this may have caused. Our teams are working to fix this issue as quickly as possible.”

Adena White, the director of communications for the Chamber of Commerce in Conway, Arkansas, told The Daily Dot she noticed Google’s Lee holiday after spotting tweets complaining about it. She tried to change it.

“I was able to edit our holiday hours on Google My Business to ‘closed’ but could not edit the reason why,” White said via a message to The Dot. “It appears that state holidays take precedence over federal holidays.”

Florida’s Lee holiday is Jan. 19, but it’s not generally observed, and Virginia celebrates Robert E. Lee-Andrew Jackson Day on the Friday before MLK Day.

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