Martin Luther
King Jr. Day

About MLK Jr. Day

Celebrated on the third Monday of January every year, the national Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday was signed into law in January 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. However, born in 1929, King’s actual birthday is January 15. The Holiday celebrates Dr. King’s life, legacy, and vast contributions to the United States and to humanity. Coretta Scott King, King’s widow, fought for Congressional approval of the holiday and testified before Congress multiple times and several states in the 1970’s enacted statewide King Day holidays. It didn’t become a celebrated national holiday until 1986 which was almost 20 years after it was introduced to Congress by the King Center. all 50 states made it a state government holiday by 2000.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at rally
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

State of Arizona Holiday

Many people in Arizona held marches and celebrated Martin Luther King Jr Day long before it was officially recognized as a state holiday. Arizona resisted passing the King holiday as a state holiday and had a two-part voter referendum in November 1990 to determine the fate of the King holiday in Arizona. Arizona was the only state in the nation that had its citizens vote. In addition to statewide boycotts, the National Football League threatened to move the 1993 Super Bowl from Tempe, AZ if the holiday referendum was defeated by the voters.

The referendum did not pass and the National Football League moved the 1993 Super Bowl to Pasadena, CA resulting in an estimated half a billion dollar revenue loss to Arizona. In 1991, the Arizona Legislature passed and sent to its voters a proposition to make the third Monday in January a paid state holiday known as the Martin Luther King Jr./Civil Rights Day. Arizona voters approved the holiday on November 3, 1992.


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