Every third Monday in January, we celebrate the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a national holiday.
Dr. King, a Southern Baptist minister, dedicated his life to the advancement of the civil rights movement that defined the 1960s. After his assassination in 1968, a push for the national holiday in his honor began.
Just four days after his death, Michigan congressman John Conyers introduced the first piece of legislation that would provide for a Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday. However, this bill would fall short of passage by just five votes.
Throughout the 1970s, six million signatures were collected on a petition to reintroduce the law to congress. Representative Katie Hall of Indiana introduced a new federal holiday bill to congress in 1983, which passed unanimously by a count of 338 to 90. President Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law on Nov. 2, 1983.
The first National Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed on January 20, 1986, however not every state observed the holiday.
South Carolina was the last state to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which officially became a paid holiday for state employees on May 2, 2000.
Today, federal and state offices, banks, and schools close for the day. There are often parades and events held throughout the United States to honor Dr. King and continue his teachings.
Our Martin Luther King Jr. Day infographic timeline shows the major events that led to the creation of our most recent national holiday. Today, more than ever, the message of Dr. King resonates loudly with new generations. Buckfire Law is committed to diversity and offers scholarships to law school and medical school students who demonstrate a commitment to issues of diversity within their community.
This easy-to-read infographic can be used to teach important lessons to students about civil liberties, human rights, and tolerance.
We hope that you will print it to share with others and use it as a teaching tool for your students and children. We also encourage you to post it on your website.
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The History of Martin Luther King Jr. Day – An infographic by the team at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C.