Martin Luther King Day

Observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of King's birthday on January 15th. Congressman John Conyers, a Democrat from Michigan, was the  first to introduce legislation for a commemorative holiday four days after King was assassinated in 1968. After the bill became stalled in congress, petitions endorsing the holiday containing six million names were submitted.  Some opponents of the federal holiday said King did not deserve his own holiday—contending that the entire civil rights movement rather than one individual, however instrumental, should be honored.

Congress passed the holiday legislation in 1983, which was then signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. A compromise moving the holiday from January 15th, King's birthday, which was considered too close to Christmas and New Year's, to the third Monday in January helped overcome opposition to the law.  Martin Luther King Jr. Day was not officially observed in all 50 states until January, 2000.  New Hampshire was the last state to adopt MLK Day as a paid state holiday, replacing its optional Civil Rights Day in 1999.

King led the black boycott (1955-56) of segregated city bus lines and in 1956, he gained a major victory and prestige as a civil-rights leader when Montgomery buses began to operate on a desegregated basis.  In 1963, King delivered his legendary "I Have a Dream" speech to an audience of 200,000 during the March on Washington.  The following year, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing segregation in public accommodations and discrimination in education and employment.  At 35 years old, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize.  For more about MLK, see a Special Toast to Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is on...
January 21st, 2013
January 20th, 2014
January 19th, 2015
January 18th, 2016
January 16th, 2017
January 15th, 2018
January 21st, 2019
January 20th, 2020
January 18th, 2021

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