Martin Luther King Jr. Day, officially known as the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and commonly referred to as MLK Day, is a federal holiday celebrated in the United States every third Monday of January. This day commemorates King, a prominent advocate for nonviolent activism during the Civil Rights Movement, which aimed to combat racial discrimination in federal and state laws as well as in civil society. The movement resulted in significant legislative reforms in the United States.

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 (which, in 1929, happened to be a Tuesday). The earliest possible Monday for observing this holiday is January 15, while the latest is January 21. The decision to observe it on a Monday aligns with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which governs the scheduling of certain federal holidays.

The push for a federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. gained momentum shortly after his assassination in 1968. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law, and it was first officially observed on January 20, 1986, three years later. Initially, some states hesitated to observe the holiday in its designated form, opting for alternative names or combining it with other holidays. However, it became officially recognized in each state's law and federal law in 2000.

Creative Director: Thomas Kurniady
Photography: Martin Luther King Jr.

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