Reflecting and acting in honor of Dr. King’s legacy seems more relevant and vital than ever. As I think back on the legacy of Dr. King, I also commend the activists of our time who have come to the forefront to advocate for social justice issues. The work of social justice activists and many others across all industries is sadly just as necessary and important as it was in Dr. King’s time.
I like to spend at least some time each year on MLK Day reflecting on writings by about Dr. King and this year is no different. Thank you Dr. King.
Many of us in our thirties and younger don’t remember a time when MLK Day wasn’t celebrated, but that wasn’t always the case. Here are four facts about How MLK Day Became a National Holiday (source):
1// The idea of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day as a holiday was promoted by labor unions in contract negotiations. The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays.
2// President Ronald Reagan originally opposed the holiday, citing cost concerns. He signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later.
3// MLK Day was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.
4// Only two other figures have national holidays in the U.S. honoring them: George Washington and Christopher Columbus.