Martin Luther King Day

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The Martin Luther King Day is a US national memorial and holiday for the year 1968 murdered Martin Luther King , which is celebrated in January since 1986 every third Monday. It is close to or even on King's birthday on January 15th and allows a three-day free weekend.


In 1968, after King's murder , efforts began to create a public holiday in his honor. The Afro-American MP John Conyers from Detroit introduced a corresponding bill into the US Congress earlier this year . In the 1970s , unions joined the support movement. Even US President Jimmy Carter supported the efforts. However, the law did not find a majority until 1983.

Ronald Reagan signs the law introducing the holiday.

Opposition to the introduction of the holiday was led by Republican Senator Jesse Helms , who questioned whether King was sufficiently important for such an honor. He also accused King of being against the Vietnam War , and assumed he had sympathy for communism . President Ronald Reagan was also an opponent of the bill. It was only after Congress passed the holiday law with a majority that underlined the futility of a veto with more than 2/3 of the votes that Reagan gave in and signed the law in the Rose Garden of the White House on November 2, 1983. The newly created federal holiday became the first committed on January 20, 1986. Initially, individual states had refrained from declaring the public holiday as a national holiday. Only since the year 2000 has Martin Luther King Day been observed not only by the federal government but also by all 50 states in the USA .

As a relatively new holiday, no distinctive traditions related to the holiday have so far developed. It is also not implemented by all employers; Overall, it is only job-free for around 33 percent of all employees, but the trend is rising. It is a public holiday for state employees and civil servants. It is also popular with non-profit and non-governmental organizations ; in factories and in the manufacturing sector it is the least common. However, the exchanges have closed. Since 1994 the idea of ​​volunteering ("Martin Luther King Day of Service") has been linked to the holiday; this goes back to an initiative of former US Senator Harris Wofford and Congressman John Lewis .

Web links

Commons : Martin Luther King Day  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Thesis 9 current members of Congress voted against MLK Day , (English).
  2. Stock exchange holidays