Tags: MLK | day | history | holiday | the history of MLK day | martin luther king junior | martin luther king day

The History Behind MLK Day

Friday, 14 Jan 2011 01:36 PM

While Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968, it took until 1983 for Martin Luther King day to become a holiday. The history behind MLK Day and how did it become a holiday is a story of persistence.

Congressman John Conyers of Michigan was the first person to propose legislation for a commemorative holiday honoring the peace and freedom fighter King. He began his push for the holiday shortly after the assassination and re-submitted the request each legislative year. Public pressure finally took hold in 1982 and 1983 with civil marches in Washingmartin luther king
birthdayton. Congress passed the legislation and President Ronald Reagan signed it into law November 2, 1983. The compromise that was made to give it more favor was moving the date from January 15th, King's birthday, to the third Monday in January. This gave more space between New Year's Day and the holiday.
While the legislation was signed into law in 1983, the federal government did not officially celebrate the date until 1986. By 1989, 44 states had adopted the day as a state holiday. It took until 1993 for some form of MLK Day to be celebrated in all 50 states. In 1999, New Hampshire became the last state to offer MLK Day as a paid holiday, replacing an existing Civil Rights Day in its calendar. South Carolina was the last state to make the day a paid holiday for all of its state employees. Prior to that, they had the choice between MLK Day and one of three Confederate-related holidays to choose from.
Now, almost 30 years after the original legislation was signed, the commemorative day has turned into a day of service and volunteerism. Spurred on by the actions of Pennsylvania Senator Wolford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, the King Holiday and Service Act was signed by President Clinton in August of 1994. This act honors Dr. King with a call to action of Americans to transform MLK Day into a day of civil action. What a way to celebrate the work of a noted peace maker and reform seeker like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

© Newsmax. All rights reserved.

PLEASE NOTE: All information presented on Newsmax.com is for informational purposes only. It is not specific medical advice for any individual. All answers to reader questions are provided for informational purposes only. All information presented on our websites should not be construed as medical consultation or instruction. You should take no action solely on the basis of this publication’s contents. Readers are advised to consult a health professional about any issue regarding their health and well-being. While the information found on our websites is believed to be sensible and accurate based on the author’s best judgment, readers who fail to seek counsel from appropriate health professionals assume risk of any potential ill effects. The opinions expressed in Newsmaxhealth.com and Newsmax.com do not necessarily reflect those of Newsmax Media. Please note that this advice is generic and not specific to any individual. You should consult with your doctor before undertaking any medical or nutritional course of action.

Keeping you up to speed on Lifestyle, health, and money-saving tips
Get me on Fast Features
Keeping you up to speed on Lifestyle, health, and money-saving tips
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Follow Newsmax
Top Stories

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved