It’s Martin Luther King Day!

18 01 2010

Of course, you know today is MLK Day, but do you know the history behind the holiday?

It was signed into law as a national holiday in 1983 by Ronald Reagan; it is currently observed every third Monday in January. However, it wasn’t celebrated as a holiday until 1986, and not all states officially celebrated it until 2000.

MLK Day has been met with controversy and resistance since its beginnings. Several states were hesitant in accepting the federal holiday with its current name, and even some who voted for it to become a holiday didn’t like the “fact that it was a national holiday for a private citizen.” Lots of states observed it under various names, like Civil Rights Day, and some celebrated it in connection with other holidays.

The initial resistance to identifying MLK Day a federal holiday ended after a petition to Congress started. It was signed by more than 6 million U.S. citizens demonstrating that Americans wanted to honor the great Civil Rights leader.

Dr. King is the only American other than George Washington to have a national holiday designated for his birthday.

“Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A (person) should do his/her job so well that the living, the dead and the unborn could do it no better.”

~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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3 responses

18 01 2010

Thank You! I was unaware that not all states were celebrating until 2000. Wow. Happy MLK Day!

18 01 2010
LaKesha Womack

Thanks for sharing the history of the holiday. Sometimes we get so caught up in “having a day off” that we forgot the reason behind the celebration.

18 01 2010

wow, I too did not know it was not until 2000 that all states recognized it…that explains a lot

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