|Martin Luther King Jr. Day|
|Official name||Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.|
|Also called||MLK Day, King Day, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day|
|Date||Third Monday in January|
|2020 date||January 20|
|2021 date||January 18|
|2022 date||January 17|
|2023 date||January 16|
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.,and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is a federal holiday in the United States marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year. Born in 1929, King's actual birthday is January 15 (which in 1929 fell on a Tuesday). The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21.
King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which 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.
The idea of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday was promoted by labor unions in contract negotiations.After King's death, U.S. Representative John Conyers (a Democrat from Michigan) and U.S. Senator Edward Brooke (a Republican from Massachusetts) introduced a bill in Congress to make King's birthday a national holiday. 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). Only two other figures have national holidays in the U.S. honoring them: George Washington and Christopher Columbus.
Death and memorial
Soon after, 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 article in The Nation as "the largest petition in favor of an issue in U.S. history".
Senators Jesse Helms and John Porter East (both North Carolina Republicans) led the opposition to the holiday and questioned whether King was important enough to receive such an honor. Helms criticized King's opposition to the Vietnam War and accused him of espousing "action-oriented Marxism".Helms led a filibuster against the bill and on October 3, 1983, submitted a 300-page document to the Senate alleging that King had associations with communists. Democratic New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan declared the document a "packet of filth", threw it on the Senate floor and stomped on it.
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?", referring to the eventual release of FBI surveillance tapes that had previously been sealed.But on November 2, 1983, Reagan signed a bill into law, proposed by Representative Katie Hall of Indiana, to create a federal holiday honoring King. The final vote in the House of Representatives on August 2, 1983 was 338–90 (242–4 in the House Democratic Caucus and 89–77 in the House Republican Conference) with 5 members voting present or abstaining, while the final vote in the Senate on October 19, 1983 was 78–22 (41–4 in the Senate Democratic Caucus and 37–18 in the Senate Republican Conference), both veto-proof margins. The holiday was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986. It is observed on the third Monday of January.
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.
Although the federal holiday honoring King was signed into law in 1983 and took effect three years later, not every U.S. state chose to observe the January holiday at the state level –the first nationwide celebration of the day with this name.until 1991, when the New Hampshire legislature created "Civil Rights Day" and abolished its April "Fast Day". In 1999, New Hampshire became the last state to name a holiday after King, which they first celebrated in January 2000
In 1986, Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt, a Democrat, created a paid state MLK holiday in Arizona by executive order just before he left office, but in 1987, his Republican successor Evan Mecham, citing an attorney general's opinion that Babbitt's order was illegal, reversed Babbitt's decision days after taking office.Later that year, Mecham proclaimed the third Sunday in January to be "Martin Luther King Jr./Civil Rights Day" in Arizona, albeit as an unpaid holiday. In 1990, Arizona voters were given the opportunity to vote on giving state employees a paid MLK holiday. That same year, the National Football League threatened to move Super Bowl XXVII, which was planned for Arizona in 1993, if the MLK holiday was voted down. In the November election, the voters were offered two King Day options: Proposition 301, which replaced Columbus Day on the list of paid state holidays, and Proposition 302, which merged Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays into one paid holiday to make room for MLK Day. Both measures failed to pass, with only 49% of voters approving Prop 302, the more popular of the two options; although some who voted "no" on 302 voted "yes" on Prop 301. Consequently, the state lost the chance to host Super Bowl XXVII, which was subsequently held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. In a 1992 referendum, the voters, this time given only one option for a paid King Day, approved state-level recognition of the holiday.
On May 2, 2000, South Carolina governor Jim Hodges signed a bill to make King's birthday an official state holiday. South Carolina was the last state to recognize the day as a paid holiday for all state employees. Before the bill, employees could choose between celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day or one of three Confederate holidays.
While all states now observe the holiday, some did not name the day after King. For example, in New Hampshire, the holiday was known as "Civil Rights Day" until 1999, when the State Legislature voted to change the name of the holiday to Martin Luther King Day.
Several additional states have chosen to combine commemorations of King's birthday with other observances:
Overall, in 2007, 33% of employers gave employees the day off, a 2% increase over the previous year. There was little difference in observance by large and small employers: 33% for firms with over 1,000 employees; and, 32% for firms with under 1,000 employees. The observance is most popular among nonprofit organizations and least popular among factories and manufacturers.The reasons for this have varied, ranging from the recent addition of the holiday to its occurrence just two weeks after the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, when many businesses are closed for part or all of it. Additionally, many schools and places of higher education are closed for classes; others remain open but may hold seminars or celebrations of King's message. The observance of MLK Day has led to some colleges and universities extending their Christmas break to include the day as part of the break. Some employers use MLK Day as a floating or movable holiday.
The national Martin Luther King Day of Servicewas started by former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, who co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. The federal legislation challenges Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service in honor of King. The federal legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 23, 1994. Since 1996, Wofford's former state office director, Todd Bernstein, has been directing the annual Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service, the largest event in the nation honoring King.
Since 1994, the day of service has been coordinated nationally by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency, which provides grants to organizations that coordinate service activities on MLK Day.
The only other official national day of service in the U.S., as designated by the government, is September 11 National Day of Service (9/11 Day).
The City of Toronto government in Ontario officially recognizes Martin Luther King Jr. Day, although not as a paid holiday: all government services and businesses remain open.The Ottawa municipal government in Ontario officially began observing this national holiday on January 26, 2005.
In 1984, during a visit by the U.S. Sixth Fleet, Navy chaplain Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff conducted the first Israeli presidential ceremony in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, held in the President's Residence, Jerusalem. Aura Herzog, wife of Israel's then-President Chaim Herzog, noted that she was especially proud to host this special event, because Israel had a national forest in honor of King, and that Israel and King shared the idea of "dreams".Resnicoff continued this theme in his remarks during the ceremony, quoting the verse from Genesis, spoken by the brothers of Joseph when they saw their brother approach, "Behold the dreamer comes; let us slay him and throw him into the pit, and see what becomes of his dreams." Resnicoff noted that, from time immemorial, there have been those who thought they could kill the dream by slaying the dreamer, but – as the example of King's life shows – such people are always wrong.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed in the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba held a special banquet at the mayor's office as an act of unifying his city's call for peace with King's message of human rights.
Every year since 1987, the Dr. Martin Luther King Tribute and Dinner has been held in Wassenaar, The Netherlands.The Tribute includes young people and veterans of the Civil Rights Movement as well as music. It always ends with everyone holding hands in a circle and singing "We Shall Overcome". The Tribute is held on the last Sunday in January.
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Volunteer day events
Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesman and leader in the American civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. King advanced civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, inspired by his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi. He was the son of early civil rights activist and minister Martin Luther King Sr.
In the United States, a federal holiday is a calendar date that is recognized and designated by the federal government of the United States as a holiday. Every year on a U.S. federal holiday, non-essential federal government offices are closed, stock market trading is usually suspended, and every federal government employee is paid for the holiday. The U.S. government recognizes 12 federal holidays: 11 annually and Inauguration Day every four years.
The schedule of public holidays in the United States is largely influenced by the schedule of federal holidays but is controlled by private sector employers who provide 62% of the total U.S. population with paid time off.
Coretta Scott King was an American author, activist, civil rights leader, and the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. As an advocate for African-American equality, she was a leader for the civil rights movement in the 1960s. King was also a singer who often incorporated music into her civil rights work. King met her husband while attending graduate school in Boston. They both became increasingly active in the American civil rights movement.
Evan Mecham was an American businessman and the 17th governor of Arizona, serving from January 5, 1987, until his impeachment conviction on April 4, 1988. A decorated veteran of World War II, Mecham was a successful automotive dealership owner and occasional newspaper publisher.
Lee–Jackson–King Day was a holiday celebrated in the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1984 to 2000 as a combination of Lee–Jackson Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Beginning in 2000 the state observed them as two distinct holidays.
Martin Luther King III is an American human rights advocate. As the oldest son and oldest living child of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, King served as the 4th President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference from 1997 to 2004.
Lee–Jackson Day was a state holiday in the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia, commemorating Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Its observation was eliminated in 2020, replaced by Election Day as a state holiday.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is a national memorial located in West Potomac Park next to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., United States. It covers four acres (1.6 ha) and includes the Stone of Hope, a granite statue of Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King Jr. carved by sculptor Lei Yixin. The inspiration for the memorial design is a line from King's "I Have A Dream" speech: "Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope." The memorial opened to the public on August 22, 2011, after more than two decades of planning, fund-raising, and construction.
The Uniform Monday Holiday Act is an Act of Congress that moved permanently to a Monday three Federal holidays in the United States—Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, and Labor Day—and that made Columbus Day a federal holiday, also permanently on a Monday. This created long weekends with three days off ending with the holidays, such as Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend.
James Edward Orange, also known as "Shackdaddy", was a leading civil rights activist in the Civil Rights Movement in America. He was assistant to Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Orange joined the civil rights marches led by King and Ralph Abernathy in Atlanta in 1963. Later he became a project coordinator for Southern Christian Leadership Conference, drawing young people into the movement.
Robert E. Lee Day is a state holiday in parts of the Southern US, commemorating the Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
Susan B. Anthony Day is a commemorative holiday to celebrate the birth of Susan B. Anthony and women's suffrage in the United States. The holiday is February 15—Anthony's birthday.
Presidents' Day, officially Washington's Birthday, is a holiday in the United States celebrated on the third Monday of February to honor all U.S. presidents. The federal holiday specifically honors George Washington, who led the Continental Army to victory in the American Revolutionary War, presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and was the first president of the United States.
Malcolm X Day is an American holiday in honor of Malcolm X that is celebrated on either May 19 or the third Friday of May. The commemoration of the civil rights leader has been proposed as an official state holiday in the U.S. state of Illinois in 2015 and Missouri as recent as 2019. As of present, only the city of Berkeley, California, observes the holiday with city offices and schools closed. After Juneteenth became a federal holiday, there are growing calls for Malcolm X Day to also be observed as a federal holiday.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Records Collection Act, or MLK Records Act, is proposed legislation that would release United States government records pertaining to the life and death of Martin Luther King Jr. Versions of the law have been proposed on multiple occasions, and a complete version was brought to both houses of the United States Congress in 2005–2006.
This is a list of memorials to Martin Luther King Jr.
In the United States there are a number of observed holidays where employees receive paid time off. The labor force in the United States comprises about 62% of the general population. In the United States, 97% of the private sector businesses determine what days this sector of the population gets paid time off, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management. The following holidays are observed by the majority of US businesses with paid time off: New Year's Day, New Year's Eve, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the day after known as Black Friday, Christmas Eve and Christmas. There are also numerous holidays on the state and local level that are observed to varying degrees.
A United States federal statute honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and his work in the civil rights movement with a federal holiday was enacted by the 98th United States Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on November 2, 1983, creating Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The final vote in the House of Representatives on August 2, 1983 was 338–90 with 5 members voting present or abstaining, while the final vote in the Senate on October 19, 1983 was 78–22, both veto-proof margins.
March On For Voting Rights is a mass mobilization organized by civil rights leaders in response to Senate Republicans blocking the For The People Act. On August 28, the 58th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic March on Washington, activists will march on cities across America to demand that the vision of MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech be deferred no longer.
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