Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The day is an American Federal Holiday set aside to celebrate his birthday on January 15. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader in the civil rights movement and spoke for nonviolent activism. Soon after he died a bill was introduced to Congress to make his birthday a national holiday. It came to vote in 1979 and fell five votes short. It wasn’t until a campaign in 1980 that the bill gathered support again, and six million signatures were collected to petition congress. President Reagan originally opposed the bill. It passed the House of Representatives 338 to 90; a veto proof margin. On November 2, 1983 President Reagan signed the bill into law. The first observance came on January 20, 1986. It wasn’t until 2000 that all 50 states observed the day.
Martin Luther Kings “I Have A Dream” speech is often considered a great speech, and one of his greatest speeches. It was the last speech given as part of the March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom; held on August 28, 1963. The march was intended to demonstrate support for civil rights legislation. Part of the goals that each group who organized the March included passage of meaningful civil rights legislation, program of public works including job training for the unemployed, a Federal law prohibiting discrimination in hiring, and a nationwide minimum wage.
Links:Martin Luther King Jr Day (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King,_Jr._Day)I Have A Dream (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Have_a_Dream)March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_on_Washington_for_Jobs_and_Freedom)I have a dream (http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf)