Timeline: Creation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

See the timeline of events that led to the MLK holiday being established.


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1929: Martin Luther King Jr. was born Michael Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 15, in Atlanta. King's name was mistakenly recorded as "Michael King" on his birth certificate; this was not discovered until 1934, when his father applied for a passport. (Getty Images)

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1968: Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) introduces legislation for a federal holiday to commemorate King. (Getty Images)

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1973: Illinois is the first state to adopt MLK Day as a state holiday. (Getty Images)

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1983: Congress passes and President Ronald Reagan signs legislation creating Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Getty Images)

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1986: The federal MLK holiday goes into effect. (Getty Images)

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1987: Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham rescinds MLK Day as his first act in office, setting off a boycott of the state. (Getty Images)

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1989: The MLK holiday is adopted in 44 states. It was during that year that President George H. Bush signed the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday extension bill at the White House.(Getty Images)

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1991: Students protest at the State House over New Hampshire's refusal to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. with a holiday in Concord, NH., Jan. 21, 1991. The state of Arizona did the same, resulting in the NFL decision to move the 1993 Super Bowl site from Phoenix to Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Pam Berry/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

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1996: For the first time, MLK Day is held in some form—sometimes under a different name and not always as a paid state holiday—in all 50 states. (Getty Images)

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1999: New Hampshire finally adopts MLK Day as a paid state holiday, replacing its optional Civil Rights Day. (Getty Images)

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2000: Utah becomes the last state to recognize MLK Day by name, renaming its Human Rights Day state holiday. (Getty Images)

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2024: A child places their hands on the name of Martin Luther King, Jr. at his memorial a day ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Washington, DC, on January 14, 2024. The holiday celebrates the birth of the civil rights icon and is a reminder that King's work continues to impact generations today and those to come. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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