When is "Martin Luther King Jr. Day"?
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is marking the birthdate of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., observed on the third Monday of January each year, around the time of King's birthday, January 15.
What type of holiday is this?
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a United States holiday.
The campaign for a federal holiday in King's honor began soon after his assassination. Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed in 1986. 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.
Commemorating an individual
It is one of four United States federal holidays to commemorate an individual person. King was the chief spokesman of the nonviolent civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
When was King assassinated?
He was assassinated in 1968.
Origin of this holiday
Martin Luther King Jr. Day was founded as a holiday promoted by labor unions in contract negotiations. After King's death, Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) introduced a bill in Congress to make King's birthday a national holiday, highlighting King's activism on behalf of trade unionists.
The bill first came to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1979. However, it fell five votes short of the number needed for passage. Two of the main arguments mentioned by opponents were that a paid holiday for federal employees would be too expensive, and that a holiday to honor a private citizen would be contrary to longstanding tradition (King had never held public office).
Later, The King Center turned to support from the corporate community and the general public. The success of this strategy was cemented when musician Stevie Wonder released the single "Happy Birthday" to popularize the campaign in 1980 and hosted the Rally for Peace Press Conference in 1981. Six million signatures were collected for a petition to Congress to pass the law, termed by a 2006 The Nation article as "the largest petition in favor of an issue in US history."
Reluctance to observe day
Wiki encyclopedia tells us that "Senator Jesse Helms (Republican-North Carolina) led opposition to the bill and questioned whether King was important enough to receive such an honor." "He also criticized King's opposition to the Vietnam War and accused him of espousing "action-oriented Marxism". "John McCain voted against the creation of the holiday to honor King, and later defended Arizona Republican Governor Mecham's rescinding of the state holiday in honor of King created by his Democratic predecessor." "After his opposition grew increasingly untenable, McCain reversed his position, and encouraged his home state of Arizona to recognize the holiday despite opposition from then-Governor Evan Mecham"
"Ronald Reagan was also opposed to the holiday. He recanted only after Congress passed the King Day bill with an overwhelming veto-proof majority (338 to 90 in the House of Representatives and 78 to 22 in the Senate)." "Prior to that date, New Hampshire and Arizona had not observed the day. read more
How can I Celebrate this holiday?
- Blog with us about it! - We have a blog called "Everyday is a Holiday" so visit our pages and talk with us about this holiday.
- Send Free E-Greeting! - If your ready to get together with your friends don't forget to invite them with these fun Internet Invitations.
Other January Holidays around the world
January is the first month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. It is, on average, the coolest month of the year within most of the Northern Hemisphere and the warmest month of the year within most of the Southern Hemisphere, characterizing the onset of the Winter and Summer in both hemispheres respectively.
- Coptic Christmas - January 7
- Coming-of-Age Day in Japan - Second Monday
- Australia Day in Australia - January 26
- Republic Day in India - January 26
- Auckland Anniversary in Auckland, New Zealand - Monday closest to January 29
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King Observed Holiday
At the White House Rose Garden on November 2, 1983, Reagan signed a bill creating a federal holiday to honor King. It was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986.
The bill established the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission to oversee observance of the holiday, and Coretta Scott King was made a member of this commission for life by President George H. W. Bush in May 1989.