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Martin Luther King Day: History of the Holiday

On January 16, 2017, the US nation is going to celebrate the next anniversary of Martin Luther King Day. Prepare yourself for the feast day by learning the history of the upcoming holiday and share the facts with your friends.

History of Martin Luther King Day

In fact, it took about fifteen years to establish the national holiday devoted to Martin Luther King, Jr. In April 1968, John Conyers, a Democrat from the state of Michigan, was the first congressman who proposed the legislation for a memorial holiday just 4 days after Martin Luther King’s assassination. During the next several years, the legislation was not taken into consideration by the Congress, although there were active moves of labor unions in endorsement of the holiday. In 1971, six million people signed petitions to the Congress in support of Martin Luther King Day. It turned out that this was also not enough to establish the holiday on a federal level.

Further, Conyers and Shirley Chisholm proposed King’s holiday legislation during the next legislative sessions. The nation’s pressure in support of the holiday significantly increased during 1982 and 1983 when the civil rights parades took place in Washington. Finally, in 1983, the Congress approved Martin Luther King Day legislation that later, President Ronald Reagan signed into law. Despite the fact that the opposition to the law was strong, the agreement to move the celebration from January 15, the day when Martin Luther King was born, to the third Monday in January made the holiday less close to Christmas and the New Year. The first national celebration of Martin Luther King Day was held on January 20, 1986.

National Consensus on Martin Luther King Day

On the other hand, there were states that opposed to celebrate the holiday. It was stated by some adversaries that Martin Luther King was not worthy of his own feast day. They added that the movement for civil rights deserved to be honored rather than a single individual. The number of Southern states complemented the celebration by glorifying different Confederate generals. In addition, Arizona citizens recognized the holiday after tourists had organized a boycott in 1992. In 1999, the administration of New Hampshire altered the holiday title from Civil Rights Day to Martin Luther King Day. Since 2000, the holiday has ultimately been established throughout the United States.

Martin Luther King Day honors the great person who significantly contributed to the history of our country. Join the celebration on January 16 this year and show your respect towards the well-known fighter for the rights of the African-Americans. 

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