Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., and sometimes referred to as MLK Day). It is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year. Martin Luther King’s birthday is January 15.
King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.
The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 20, 2020, marked the 25th anniversary of the day of service that celebrates the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy. The national Martin Luther King Day of Service was started by former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, who co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. The federal legislation challenges Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service in honor of King. Observed as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. The Corporation for National and Community service has been charged to lead this effort for the last quarter century.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929 and died by assassination on April 4, 1968.