Get To Know About Martin Luther King Jr. Day Now

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, often known as MLK Day or the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., is a federal holiday in the United States that honors the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Every year, it is observed on the third Monday in January. King was actually born on January 15th, 1929. (which in 1929 fell on a Tuesday). The day off is comparable to days off determined by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest and latest Mondays for this holiday are January 15 and January 21, respectively.

In the Civil Rights Movement, which opposed racial inequality in federal and state law, King served as the principal advocate for peaceful activism. Soon after King’s murder in 1968, a movement to establish a federal holiday in his memory was launched. The holiday was officially enacted in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, and it was celebrated for the first time three years later. Initially, some states refused to observe the holiday as such, renaming it or merging it with other occasions. The first time it was formally celebrated in all 50 states was in 2000.

Article Shared About Holiday With “Valentine February 14 – A Romantic Day.”

Martin Luther King Jr. Day’s History.


Labor unions advocated for Martin Luther King Jr. Day to be a holiday during contract discussions. Following King’s passing, Massachusetts Republican Edward Brooke and Michigan Democrat John Conyers filed legislation in Congress to declare King’s birthday a national holiday. In 1979, the U.S. House of Representatives held the bill’s first vote.

But it didn’t receive the necessary five votes to approve. The cost of a paid holiday for federal employees and the fact that a holiday in honor of a private citizen would go against long-standing custom were two of the key defenses offered by opponents (King had never held public office). Only George Washington and Christopher Columbus have their own national holidays in the United States.

Following that, the King Center sought assistance from the business and public sectors. When artist Stevie Wonder organized the Rally for Peace Press Conference in 1981 and released the tune “Happy Birthday” to popularize the campaign in 1980, the strategy’s success was solidified. According to a 2006 article in The Nation, the petition to Congress to adopt the law garnered six million signatures, making it “the largest petition in favor of an issue in U.S. history.”

Republican senators from North Carolina Jesse Helms and John Porter East spearheaded the charge against the holiday and questioned whether King was deserving of such recognition. King’s opposition to the Vietnam War was challenged by Helms, who charged that he supported “action-oriented Marxism.”

On October 3, 1983, Helms led a filibuster against the bill and delivered a 300-page paper to the Senate in which he claimed King had ties to communists. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat from New York, called the document a “packet of filth,” hurled it on the Senate floor, and trampled it.

Federal Passage.

The holiday was initially rejected by President Ronald Reagan due to financial considerations. The president responded, “We’ll know in thirty-five years, won’t we?” in response to a question about Helms’ allegations that King was a communist, alluding to the eventual disclosure of previously-sealed FBI surveillance tapes.

However, on November 2, 1983, President Reagan approved a bill to establish a federal holiday in King’s honor, which was put forth by Indiana Representative Katie Hall. The final vote in the Senate on October 19, 1983, was 78-22 (41-4 in the Senate Democratic Caucus and 37-18 in the Senate Republican Conference), both veto-proof margins.

The final vote in the House of Representatives on August 2, 1983, was 338-90 (242-4 in the House Democratic Caucus and 89-77 in the House Republican Conference) with 5 members voting present or abstaining. The inaugural New Year’s Day celebration took place on January 20, 1986. On the third Monday in January, it is observed.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Committee was also established by the legislation to manage the holiday’s commemoration. In May 1989, President George H. W. Bush appointed Coretta Scott King as a life member of the commission.

State-level Passage.

Though King’s birthday was declared a federal holiday in 1983 and came into force three years later, not all American states elected to mark the January holiday until 1991, when the New Hampshire Assembly established “Civil Rights Day” and did away with its April “Fast Day.” King’s holiday was initially observed in New Hampshire in January 2000, making it the last state to do so before the day was adopted nationally in 1999.

By executive order, Democratic Governor of Arizona Bruce Babbitt established a paid state MLK holiday in Arizona just before he left office in 1986. However, days after taking office, Evan Mecham, a Republican, overturned Babbitt’s decision, citing the attorney general’s opinion that Babbitt’s order was unlawful.

Later that year, Mecham said that Arizona would observe Martin Luther King Jr./Civil Rights Day on the third Sunday in January, though it would not be a paid holiday. The following year, the state Senate rejected this idea. Arizona voters had the chance to decide in 1990 whether or not state employees should receive a paid MLK holiday. In case the MLK holiday was rejected, the National Football League threatened to transfer the 1993 Super Bowl XXVII from Arizona.

Proposition 301, which added Martin Luther King Jr. Day to the list of paid state holidays, and Proposition 302, which combined George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays into one paid holiday, were the two King Day alternatives put before voters in the November election. Only 49% of voters approved Prop 302, the more popular of the two options, while some people who voted “no” on 302 also voted “yes” on Prop 301, resulting in the failure of both proposals.

As a result, the state was denied the opportunity to host Super Bowl XXVII; instead, it was hosted in Pasadena, California, in the Rose Bowl. When there was only one choice for a paid King Day in a 1992 ballot, the voters accepted state-level recognition of the holiday.

King’s birthday became a recognized state holiday in South Carolina after Jim Hodges, the state’s governor, approved a law on May 2, 2000. The day was declared a paid holiday for all state employees in South Carolina, which was the final state to do so. Prior to the measure, workers had the option of honoring one of three Confederate holidays or Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *