On Monday, January 16, 2017 our nation honors the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a federal holiday. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the only private American citizen to be honored with a federal holiday.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement and successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. August 28, 1963 marked a pivotal moment in our nation’s history as the March on Washington took place in Washington D.C. Dubbed the “the greatest demonstration of freedom in the history of the United States” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the historic event attracted more than 240,000 Americans demanding equality in jobs and civil rights.
I Have a Dream
Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech went on to become the best political speech of the 20th century according to a 1999 panel of more than 130 scholars. In addition to marking the largest demonstration in Washington D.C., the march was also one of the first to be televised. Over 5,000 police officers were present and not a single arrest was made during the demonstration.
Campaign for MLK Holiday
The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. On November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law and it was first observed on January 20, 1986. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a count of 338 to 90, a veto-proof margin.
The bill also established the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission to oversee the observance of the holiday and Coretta Scott King, MLK’s wife, was made a member of this commission for life by President H. W. Bush in May, 1989.
Dean and Draper
Please join us in honoring a remarkable man and an amazing point in American history.
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