Monday, February 21, 2011

Washington's Birthday or President's Day?

You get the benefit of my day job blog today - a post on Washington's Birthday.

Today is the observance of George Washington's birthday, and for Arkansans, the celebration of Daisy Lee Gatson Bates.  The popular name for the holiday is President's Day, or is it Presidents' Day?  There is some confusion in the name, and what is being celebrated. Officially, it is to commemorate the birth of George Washington, the nation's first president, although many people assume it is to celebrate all presidents.  There used to be a separate holiday in February for the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, but it was sort of subsumed into the more general holiday.  If you are interested in learning more about the "controversy" over the holiday, check out this article on

For those of us in Arkansas, the day also commemorates the life and legacy of civil rights activist, Daisy Gatson Bates.  She was a mentor to the Little Rock Nine, and with her husband published a newspaper, the Arkansas State Press. For a more detailed biography, as well as pictures and suggestions for further reading, visit the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

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