Martin Luther King Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King’s birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.
The idea of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday was promoted by labor unions in contract negotiations.
Civil Rights Movement
King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968.
President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.
President Ronald Reagan originally opposed the holiday, citing cost concerns. When asked to comment on Helms’ accusations that King was a communist, the president said “We’ll know in thirty-five years, won’t we?”, in reference to the eventual release of FBI surveillance tapes that had previously been sealed. But on November 2, 1983, Reagan signed a bill, proposed by Representative Katie Hall of Indiana, to create a federal holiday honoring King. The bill had passed the House of Representatives by a count of 338 to 90, a veto-proof margin. The holiday was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986.
The bill also established the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission to oversee observance of the holiday, and Coretta Scott King, King’s wife, was made a member of this commission for life by President George H. W. Bush in May 1989. (Source: Wikipedia)
Martin Luther King Jr.
National Historic Site
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park consists of several buildings including Martin Luther King Jr.’s boyhood home and the original Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church where King was baptized and both his father Martin Luther King Sr. and he were pastors.
These places, critical to the interpretation of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy as a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, were included in the park when it was established on October 10, 1980. Formerly a National Historic Site, the unit was redesignated as a National Historical Park on January 8, 2018.
In total, the buildings included in the site make up 35 acres (0.14 km²). The visitor center contains a museum that chronicles the American Civil Rights Movement and the path of Martin Luther King Jr. An 1894 firehouse (Fire Station No. 6) served the Sweet Auburn community until 1991, and now contains a gift shop and an exhibit on desegregation in the Atlanta Fire Department.
The “I Have a Dream” International World Peace Rose Garden, and a memorial tribute to Mohandas K. Gandhi are part of the site, as is the “International Civil Rights Walk of Fame” which commemorates some of the courageous pioneers who worked for social justice.
Annual events celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January typically draws large crowds. Speakers have included Presidents of the United States, national and local politicians, and civil rights leaders. Remembrances are also held during Black History Month (February), and on the anniversary of King’s April 4, 1968, assassination in Memphis, Tennessee. (Source: Wikipedia)
Visit official website www.thekingcenter.org
“I Have a Dream”
“I Have a Dream” is a public speech delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which he calls for an end to racism in the United States and called for civil and economic rights. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the speech was a defining moment of the civil rights movement.
Cover photo credits: The civil rights leader Martin Luther King waves to supporters 28 August 1963 on the Mall in Washington DC (Washington Monument in the background) during the “March on Washington”. King said the march was “the greatest demonstration of freedom in the history of the United States.” Martin Luther King was assassinated on 04 April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Ray confessed to shooting King and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. King’s killing sent shock waves through American society at the time, and is still regarded as a landmark event in recent US history. AFP PHOTO (Photo credits: AFP/Getty Images)