Martin Luther King Jr Day 2018

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is his birthday celebrated annually in the United States as a federal holiday. During the Civil Rights Movement, the King was the head speaker on nonviolent activism. In the federal and state laws, it successfully protested for racial discrimination. After his assassination in 1968, a campaign started to make a national holiday to honor King. In 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law but then celebrated three years later. Many states object the holiday and some integrated with other holidays. First time celebrated in all states of the United States in 2000.

When is Martin Luther King Day in 2018?

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Kings’ Birthday was on January 15, so the holiday was celebrated on his birthday officially celebrated annually on third Monday of January.

Martin Luther King Day’s History

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2018 – January 15

Labor unions promoted the Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official holiday. The two people to introduce the bill in Congress to make the King’s birthday a national holiday were John Conyers and Senator Edward Brooke, a Democrat from Michigan and a Republican from Massachusetts respectively. In 1979 the bill came for a vote in the Unites States House of Representative. The bill failed with the required vote for it to be passed. The opponents two main arguments were that King was a private citizen as he never took office and a paid holiday would be costly. George Washington and Christopher Columbus were the other two personalities for whom a national holiday was observed honoring their work. In 1980, Stevie Wonder released a song Happy Birthday to publicize the campaign and following year organized a Rally for Peace Press Conference. To make the holiday into law six million signatures were collected to make it the largest petition in the United States history.

George Washington and Christopher Columbus were the other two personalities for whom a national holiday was observed honoring their work. In 1980, Stevie Wonder released a song Happy Birthday to publicize the campaign and following year organized a Rally for Peace Press Conference. To make the holiday into law six million signatures were collected to make it the largest petition in the United States history.


Two Republicans from North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms and John Porter East opposed the holiday questioning importance of King and whether he was a famous person to receive this much honor. Jesse Helms mentioned King’s fault opposing the Vietnam War. He also gave in three hundred page document to Senate claiming the relation between King and communists. The paper was thrown on the floor and stomped by New York Senator Daniel Patrick. According to Senato Patrick the document “packet of filth.”

Initially, President Ronald Reagan was against holiday mentioning the cost of the holiday. President Reagan once commented “We’ll know in thirty-five years, won’t we? When asked if King was a communist?. Representative Katie Hall of Indiana proposed a bill to make it a federal holiday which later was signed by President Ronald Reagan on November 2, 1983. January 20, 1986, was the first time when the holiday was observed after a veto-proof vote counts 338 to 90 passed in the House of Representatives. Loretta Scott King, the wife of King, was made a member of commission by President George H.W. Bush in May 1989 formed to look after the observance of holiday

State level passage

MLK day Quote - I have a Dream

I have a dream Quote

The law was signed in 1983 to make the day a federal holiday however it was celebrated three years later. Many states of the U.S. did not observe the holiday, till the New Hampshire legislature created Civil Rights Day in 1991. The new law also abolished Fast Day. The last state to recognize the holiday was Utah in 2000 when Human Rights Day changed to Martin Luther King Jr. Day and South Carolina the last state to make it an official paid holiday.

Martin Luther King Day’s Alternative names

Now all days observe the day, but some states did not name the holiday after King. State of New Hampshire celebrated the holiday as Civil Rights day till 1999. After voting of the State Legislature, the festival changed to Martin Luther King Day. Many states combined King Day with other observances.

  1. Alabama – Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King Birthday
  2. Arizona – Martin Luther King Jr. and Civil Rights Day
  3. Arkansas – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee’s Birthdays
  4. Idaho – Martin Luther King Jr. and Idaho Human Rights Day
  5. Mississippi – Martin Lither King’s and Robert E. Lee’s Birthday
  6. New Hampshire – Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day
  7. Virginia – Lee-Jackson-King-Day till 2000 and after 2000, Martin Luther King Day Jr.

Outside the United States

Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the Japanese city of Hiroshima is observed equally as in the United States. Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba organizes a special banquet in Mayor’s office to recognize the city’s call for peace. The day is also known in the City of Toronto, Canada but is not an official holiday as both government and business stay open.

An event in 1884 was organized at the Israeli president’s residence in Jerusalem conducted by Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff a U.S Navy Chaplain to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The event was well supported and applauded by Aura Herzog wife of then-President Chaim Herzog. A national forest in Israel named after King. The idea of ‘dreams” are both shared by Israel and King. Killing the dreamer does not kill the dream as in the case of Martin Luther King Jr.