On this day in 1983, a federal holiday was declared in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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FILE - This Aug. 28, 1963, file photo shows Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledging the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial for his "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington. Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, marks the 25th federal observance of the birth of King, one of America's most celebrated citizens, and the only non-U.S. president to be honored with a national holiday. (AP Photo/File)
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On this November 2, 1983, a federal holiday was declared in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In the bill signed by President Ronald Reagan, every third Monday in January would from then on be observed as Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. Four days after his death, the first legislation seeking a Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday was made by Congressman John Conyers and 15 years later the holiday was solidified by President Reagan.

As the years passed, Martin Luther King Jr. Day became more than just a day off from work or school. It evolved into a day of service, a day when Americans of all backgrounds came together to volunteer, to give back to their communities, and to uphold the values of equality and social justice that Dr. King had championed.


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