1983 November 2

Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Established as National Holiday


President Ronald Reagan on this day signed into law the bill making Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday. Reagan, responding to right-wing and anti-civil rights pressure, had opposed the idea of a national holiday for King, but in the end signed the bill because of the overwhelming public support for the memorial to King. Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929, and the law designated the third Monday of each year as the official holiday marking his birth.

The Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, DC, was dedicated on August 28, 2011.

Watch Martin Luther King’s last speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oehry1JC9Rk

Read the Monumental Three-Volume Biography of Dr. King, “America in the King Years,” by Taylor Branch: Parting the Waters (1988); Pillar of Fire (1998); At Canaan’s Edge (2006)

Visit the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, DC: http://www.nps.gov/mlkm/index.htm

Visit the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta: http://www.thekingcenter.org/plan-your-visit

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