Facts About Martin Luther King Day

[ReviewAZON name=”MLK” id=”47″ display=”inlinepost” asin=”0060646918″ trackingid=”mywebsource1-20″ country=”us” width=”200px” float=”left” imagetop=”10px”]Monday is Martin Luther King Day in the United States.  The federal holiday is in remembrance of the civil rights leader who was assassinated on April 4, 1968. One of the newest federal holidays, Martin Luther King Day is held on the third Monday in January and is often commemorated to promote racial equality amongst all Americans.  Here are five Facts About Martin Luther King Day

myfivebest -1HOW IT GOT STARTED

Congressman John Conyers, Democrat from Michigan, first introduced legislation for a commemorative holiday four days after King was assassinated in 1968. After the bill became stalled, petitions endorsing the holiday containing six million names were submitted to Congress.  It took nearly fifteen years for it to become a federal holiday.

myfivebest - 2RESISTANCE

Not surprising, some states refused to adopt the holiday, at first.  While Illinois was the first state to enact the holiday in 1973, others were a bit more resistant.  Arizona governor, Evan Mecham repealed MLK Day, repealed the holiday in 1987, which caused a tourist boycott of the state. This was overturned in 1993 when the people of Arizona voted overwhelmingly to bring back the day. Even still, other states, like New Hampshire wouldn’t make it a paid holiday until 1999. All 50 states came on board by the year 2000 when Utah was the last to agree to the day. Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983.

myfivebest - 3BY ANY OTHER NAME

Today, this Monday is referred by most states as Martin Luther King Day or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Some states still have a problem giving that much credit to one man.  In some locations, the name of the holiday is called “Civil Rights Day“.  These states contend that Civil Rights is a movement that consisted of many people and should not single out one man.  I am not judging, but Arkansas and Texas prefer to call the day “Robert E. Lee Day” or “Confederate Heroes Day” in recognition of the Confederacy over the Civil Rights leader.  You can decide how you view that decision on your own…

myfivebest - 4CELEBRATION IN THE SCHOOLS

Many schools commemorate the holiday by teaching children about the Civil Rights movement.  Lessons are taught and in some schools the students perform plays leading up to the holiday.  Schools are closed on the third Monday in January, though, which gives the children a long weekend to think about why they are on vacation and remember King.

myfivebest - 5ART REFLECTS LIFE

There are many songs in popular culture that commemorate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.  These songs include:

Happy Birthday (Stevie Wonder) – 1981
Pride: In The Name Of Love
(U2) – 1984
MLK (U2) – 1984
One Vision (Queen) – 1985
By The Time I Get To Arizona (Public Enemy) – 1991
We Shall Overcome (Bruce Springsteen) – 2006
I Have A Dream (Will I Am) – 2006