Martin Luther King Jr was a fabulous man. He finished high school early in life and started college as a teenager. He became a pastor where he learned and expanded his skills as an orator. Most of us know many facts about Martin Luther King Jr, but do you know the struggle of his life, both while on earth and after his death? How did we finally get a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr? What is the background and the meaning of MLK Day - Martin Luther King Jr. Day?
"This is not a black holiday; it is a people's holiday," said Coretta Scott King after President Ronald Reagan signed the King Holiday Bill into law on Nov. 2, 1983. But in the complicated history of Martin Luther King, Jr Day, it has only recently been a holiday for all the people, all the time.
Fifteen years earlier, on April 4, 1968, Mrs. King had lost her husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to an assassin's bullet. In the months after the death of the civil rights icon, Congressman John Conyers Jr. of Michigan introduced the first legislation seeking to make King's birthday, Jan. 15, a federal holiday. The King Memorial Center in Atlanta was founded around the same time, and it sponsored the first annual observance of King's birthday, in January 1969, almost a decade and a half before it became an official government-sanctioned holiday.
President Reagan signed the bill into law in November 1983 and the first official holiday was observed on the third Monday of January 1986.
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Looking for ways to remember and celebrate MLK Jr? Click on Activities for a listing of events in the Phoenix area. As a reminder, please be careful, sanitized and physical distance around you. We are still dealing with coronaville.
Click on SERVICE for a list of activities that can be done in smaller numbers.
As we approach Martin Luther King Jr. Day, please reflect on the enduring legacy of a man who championed equality and justice for all. As we honor his memory, consider how you can make this day meaningful. Whether it's participating in local events, volunteering for a cause, or simply engaging in conversations that promote understanding and unity, there are countless ways to celebrate. Let's turn this day into a powerful opportunity to carry forward Dr. King's dream of a better, more inclusive world. Together, we can make a difference.