Martin Luther King, Jr. Day timeline
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was observed by all 50 states for the first time. Prior to this, some states resisted observing the holiday, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays.
The first day
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was observed for the very first time.
Stevie Wonder calls for action
Stevie Wonder released "Happy Birthday," a song in which he not only celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, but also lamenting the fact that anyone would oppose the idea of a Dr. King holiday: "I just never understood, how a man who died for good, could not have a day that would, be set aside for his recognition."
- January 15, 1929
Birth of a King
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta, Ga
MLK Day Stats
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day FAQs
Is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a federal holiday?
Why is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day known as a day of service?
What happened on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?
How to Observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Learn MLK’s full history and narrative
Take the time to learn more about MLK in depth. Read his works as well as those of his family to learn more about this remarkable man and learn the stories as he told them.
Support the black community and racial justice
Make Martin Luther King, Jr. Day more than just a day off. Take time to both understand and support civil rights and the issues facing communities of color. MLK and his contemporaries did a lot for the advancement of civil rights, but there is still much to be done.
Have a conversation
Creating dialogue and having discussions about racial injustice is important. Through conversation, we educate each other, share experiences, and work to create a brighter future.
Why Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is Important
He worked to advance civil rights
The words, leadership, time, and energy King devoted to civil rights helped end segregation in the United States and worked to eliminate unfair practices throughout the nation that negatively affect the black community. He helped organize rallies, gave speeches across the country, and mobilized thousands of people to help end racial injustice.
He inspires us
MLK inspired millions of people in his lifetime and continues to inspire us to this day. Across the globe, activists look to King for inspiration and courage. Modern movements for racial equality and justice, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, are extensions of the work that he started.
He promoted civil disobedience
King's tactics and manner of protest were largely that of civil disobedience. This including sit ins, marches, and disregard for unjust laws. Many of us follow his example today when protesting and adopt the tactic of civil disobedience.