Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, observed on the third Monday of January, is the holiday, marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr (which was on January, 15), an outstanding civil rights activist, an influential leader of the movement against racial segregation in the United States. It is a relatively young American holiday.
Promoted by trade and labor unions after King’s death in 1968, long-lasting campaign for the federal holiday ended with signing the holiday into law in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. As a federal holiday it was first observed three years later.
Despite some critics and opposition by 2000 all 50 states hold the celebrations of the holiday at the state level. Utah became the last state to have a holiday named after Dr. King. In some states it is combined with Civil Rights Day (in Arizona, New Hampshire), Human Rights Day (in Idaho), Robert E. Lee’s birthday (in Alabama), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Robert E. Lee’s Birthday (in Arkansas), Martin Luther King’s and Robert E. Lee’s Birthdays (in Mississippi), Martin Luther King, Jr. / Wyoming Equality Day (in Wyoming).
Since Martin Luther King’s Day is a relatively new federal holiday, there are not many settled traditions of the holiday. It is viewed as a day to advance equal rights for all American people. Many schools and universities observe the day by teaching pupils or students about Martin Luther King, his work and his struggle against racism and racial segregation in the United States, thematic seminars are held. In the past few years, Americans are being encouraged by federal legislation to give some of their time on Martin Luther King Day as volunteers in citizen action groups.
Source: state.gov | alabama.gov | arizona.edu | arkansas.gov | idaho.gov | ms.gov | wyo.gov
In 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in USA falls on January 18.