Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 17, 2022

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Image of Dr. King


A Little History

On November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the King Holiday Bill into law, designating the third Monday in January a federal holiday in observance of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The legislation to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first introduced just four days after his assassination on April 4, 1968. However, it would take 15 years of persistence by civil rights activists for the holiday to be approved by the federal government and an additional 17 years for it to be recognized in all 50 states. Today, it is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer and improve their communities. 
National Museum of African American History and Culture, January 13, 2021

Did you Know?

  1. Dr. King's name at birth was Michael. The civil rights activist was born Michael King, Jr. His father, Michael King, Sr. visited Germany in 1934 and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader, Martin Luther. King Sr. began calling himself and eventually, his son- Martin Luther King.
  2. From 1957 to 1968, King traveled over 6 million miles and spoke over 2500 times.
  3. There are approximately 900 streets named after MLK in the U.S. Seventy percent of the streets can be found in Southern states, including Alabama, Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina. 
  4. Dr. King won a Grammy posthumously for Best Spoken Word Recording at the 13th Grammy Awards in 1971 for "Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam." He was nominated for a Grammy twice before he won this award. 

The History of the Holiday

The Social and Political Context of the King's Work

World House Podcast

21 episodes, most about 20 minutes in length, focusing on various eras of the life of MLK Jr. Episodes are available for streaming at World House Podcast or on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. 

Books About Martin Luther King, Jr.