Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, (or MLK Day,) is a federal holiday celebrated each year. This article will list seven things you may not know about the holiday.
1. It Took 18 Years
Representative John Conyers began legislation for the holiday almost immediately after King’s assassination in 1968. However, Congress did not pass the bill until 1983 and the holiday was not federally recognized until 1986.
2. Sometimes, It’s on His Birthday
King’s birthday is January 15, 1929. The holiday is celebrated on the third Monday of January. His birthday occurs five times on this holiday between 1990 and 2018. However, American holidays often occur on a Monday to allow a long weekend, rather than closing businesses in the middle of the week.
3. It’s a Day of Service
The Corporation for National and Community Service urges people to help others on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Individuals volunteer to sponsor or participate in projects in their communities.
4. Different States, Different Responses.
Illinois was the first state to recognize the holiday in 1973. All states recognized the holiday, in some capacity, in 1993. Utah was the last state to recognize it by name and South Carolina was the last state to make it a paid holiday. Many states, including New Hampshire and Utah, renamed holidays celebrating civil rights.
5. It’s Not the Only Birthday Celebrated
Mississippi and Arizona celebrate King’s birthday with the birthday of Robert E. Lee. Lee’s birthday is actually January 19, 1807.
6. The Impact on Arizona
Arizona suffered from prejudice, boycotts, and petitions from 1987 to 1992. In 1987, the newly elected governor, Evan Mecham revoked the holiday. A boycott began immediately. In 1991, the Super Bowl moved from Arizona because of this tension. In 1992, Arizona voters implemented the holiday again.
7. The Celebration in Atlanta
King was born in Atlanta, Georgia and had a significant impact on the community during the Civil Rights Movement. The King Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, does more than recognize the holiday. Instead, it is a weeklong celebration and educational experience for people of all ages.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is more than a day of rest; it is a celebration of one of the great leaders of the Civil Rights Movement in America. This article discusses seven facts about the holiday, which may be otherwise unknown.