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Martin Luther King Jr. Day   -   TimeLine 
3rd Monday in January

TimeLine  -   Links

Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a civil rights leader most noted for his "I have a dream" speach. Reverend King was a minister who participated in peaceful demonstrations for civil rights. King was the leading spokesman for nonviolent activism within the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4th, 1968.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."        - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day  TimeLine
1929 MLK Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.
1957 MLK The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was established by Dr. King to train leaders for the future of the civil rights movement.
1961 MLK In Albany, Georgia a movement led by the desegregation coalition (of the SCLC) was held in 1961. King was a participant and was arrested with other protestors. He refused bail and release hoping for the change of segregation policies of the city.
1963 MLK Dr. King participated in a sit-in demonstration held by Black college students in protest over lunch counter segregation of the races.
1963 MLK A peaceful demonstration was held at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 demanding equality of justice for all Americans. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I have a dream." speech at this event.
1964 civil rights The 1964 Civil Rights Act is passed with the opposition being from the Democratic Party members of Congress.
1964 MLK Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
1968 MLK Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4th, 1968 in Memphis Tennessee by sniper, James Earl Ray. Riots broke out across the nation.
1968 Lobby Just 4 days after King's death Michigan Democrat Congressman John Conyers introduced the first legislation for a holiday to comemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
1969 unions In an act of disobedience 1,200 automotive-workers in North Tarrytown, New York stayed home in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday on January 15, 1969. Suspensions were given to 60 workers with many more threatened with disciplinary actions.
1970 unions Soon after King's death, Labor unions began to negotiate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday in contract negotiations.
1972 Lobby Michigan Democrat Congressman John Conyers introduced legislation for a holiday to comemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Following the failure of the bill , a petition endorsing the holiday containing six million names had been submitted to Congress. Opposition to the holiday held two main arguments; one was that a paid holiday for federal employees was too expensive and second that honoring a private citizen would be against American holiday tradition (King had never held a public office).
1970 Lobby  A petition drive raised 6 million signatures in support of the holiday. The petition was delivered to Congress in 1970
1970 state

In Washington, State Representative George Fleming initiates hearings to consider King's birthday as a state holiday.
The Seattle School Board designates Dr. King's birthday a school holiday to be observed beginning in 1971.
1973 Lobby Congressman John Conyers and New York Democrat Congresswoman Shirley Chrisholm began to resubmit legislation for a Dr. King holiday every legislative session.
1973 state The first state to adopt Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday was Illinois.
1979 Lobby The Holiday bill came up for a vote in 1979, but died by 5 votes.
1980 awareness Performer Stevie Wonder released his single "Happy Birthday" to make the public more aware of the movement for a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday.
1981 unions Six workers are fired from Todd Shipyards, in Seattle, in two separate incidences for distributing pamphlets supporting the holiday.
1981 awareness To raise more awareness for the MLK holiday movement, Stevie Wonder hosted the Rally for Peace Press Conference.
1982 Lobby

During the 1982 and '83 civil rights marches in Washington D.C. public pressure was raised for a national holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
1983 Law Opposition to the holiday considered King's birthday, January 15th, too close to Christmas and New Year's Day. A Compromise sets the holiday to the third Monday in January and the bill proposed by Katie Hall of Indiana passes in 1983.
1983 Law President Ronald Reagan signed the MLK Day bill into law on November 2nd, 1983 while in the White House Rose Garden.
1984 state The Washington State Legislature passes a state school holiday on February 24th, 1984.
1984 state In Washington State the Seattle City Council designates the third Monday as a holiday for city employees, marking King's birthday.
1984 state Virginia began to observe a holiday for Robert E. Lee's birthday (January 19, 1807) in 1889. In 1904 the Virginia legislature included the birthday of Thomas J. "Stonewall Jackson" (January 21, 1824) calling it the Lee-Jackson Day. Since 1978 Virginia celebrated King's birthday with New Years Day. When the MLK Day holiday was enacted as a national holiday Virginia simply tacked it onto its existing Lee-Jackson holiday creating the Lee-Jackson-King Day.
1986 Law Martin Luther King Jr. Day goes into effect being Nationally observed on January 20th, 1986 for the first time.
1986 Law The law creating MLK Day also established a Federal Holiday Commission.
1986 state Evan Mecham, the new Governor of Arizona, makes his first act in office; the recinding of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The act sets off a tourist boycott of the state of Arizona.
1989 Law Coretta Scott King was appointed a life-time member, of the newly created Federal Holiday Commission, by President George H. W. Bush in May, 1989
1989 state As of 1989, 44 states have adopted Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
1991 state Due to the tourist boycott of Arizona, the Super Bowl site for 1993 is moved to Pasadena, California.
1991 state The New Hamphsire legislature enacted 'Civil Rights Day' abolishing "Fast Day" in 1991.
1992 state After the tourist boycott, Arizona voters approved Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1992. The Super bowl is scheduled in Tempe, Arizona in 1996.
1993 state Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is recognized, even if under a different name and not always as a paid state holiday, in all 50 states by 1993.
1999 state New Hamphsire changed Civil Rights Day naming it Martin Luther King Jr. Day, becoming the last State to adopt the holiday as a paid State Holiday.
2000 state Utah is the last state to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by name, changing it from Human Rights Day.
2000 state In 2000, Virginia separates Lee-Jackson-King Day celebrating the Lee-Jackson Day the Friday before the third Monday of Martin Luther King Day.
2000 state South Carolina is the last state to make Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a paid state holiday for all state employees. Before this individual state employees were able to choose to celebrate of 4 holidays; MLK Day or 3 Confederate associated holidays. In 2000 all 50 states recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by its name and observed on the third Monday of January.
© Copyright 2010 Roger W Hancock
Other Information on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

In the Japanese city of Hiroshima, Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba holds a banquet at the mayor's office to unify King's message of human rights with the city's call for peace.

In Jerusalem, Israel the U.S. Navy Chaplain, Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff conducted the first Israeli Presidential ceremony commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, with in the Israeli President's residence.

Israel has a national forest named in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Other Links to see at

TimeLine of Kwanzaa
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TimeLine of Christmas
Women Patriots of the American Revolution -

Sources for the TimeLine of Martin Luther King Jr. Day -,_Jr._Day - -

© Copyright 2010 Roger W Hancock 


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