Martin Luther King Day

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or MLK Day commemorates the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Each year, the national holiday is celebrated on the third Monday in the month of January, exactly during the period of Martin Luther's birthday (January 15). All government buildings, post offices and public schools remain close in this federal holiday. Till 2000, the MLK Day was called as the "Human Rights Day” by the Utahians. The Arizonians call this day as “Civil Rights Day”. In New Hampshire, the national holiday has been officially named as "Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil Rights Day".

Martin Luther King Day in 2015 is on Monday, the 19th of January.

What is the history of Martin Luther King Day?


  • During the 1950s, the Black Americans faced many disadvantages in the United States of America. Though, after the American Civil War in 1865, the Afro-Americans were no longer treated as “slaves”, yet they never gained equality with White citizens throughtout the America, Blacks remained second class citizens and were discriminated from good education, better health facilities, and public service opportunities.


  • Black people did not even had the right to cast a vote in public.Often, these hapless Black Americans ended getting worst paid unskilled jobs in factories and farmlands. The massive wave of “racism incidents” including unreasonable arrest of Rosa Parks caught attention of a young Black American Baptist minister named Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Since, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a staunch believer of non-violent protests, he took up the role of the key non-violent activist in the African-American Civil Rights movement (1955-1968).


  • He led several successful protests including “Montgomery Bus Boycott" against racial segregation and humiliation.


  • On 14 October 1964, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting racial inequality through non-violence.


  • On 4th April 1968, King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis by a fugitive from the Missouries State Penitentiary named James Earl Ray. Four days after King was assassinated, Congressman John Conyers (a democrat from Michigan) took a noble initiative to introduce legislation for a commemorative holiday.


  • After the bill was stalled, six million petitioners endorse the holiday before the Congress. Fifteen years later, on 2nd November 1983, a new legislature bill was signed by the President Ronald Reagan? to create a national holiday for honouring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s contributions and achievementsone of the world’s greatest civil rights leaders.


  • Martin Luther Kind Day was first observed on 20 January, 1986. However, the MLK Day has been officially adopted in all the fifty American states only in the year 2000.


How is the Martin Luther King Day observed today?


  • In 1994, Congress appointed the Corporation for National and Community Service to ensure that the Martin Luther King Day is observed as a national day of service.


  • Since then, the MLK Day has become an integral part of United We Serve, the President's national call for American volunteers from all walks of life to participate and brainstorm solutions to strengthen communities, bridge ethnicity barriers,? and solve social and national problems.