Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, in the United States, honors the achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. A Baptist minister who advocated the use of nonviolent means to end racial segregation, he first came to national prominence during a bus boycott by African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. He founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 and led the 1963 March on Washington. The most influential of African American civil rights leaders during the 1960s, he was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination in public accommodations, facilities, and employment, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1964.
Almost immediately after King’s assassination on April 4, 1968, there were calls for a national holiday in his honor. Beginning in 1970, several states and cities made his birthday, January 15, a holiday. Although legislation for a federal holiday was introduced in Congress as early as 1968, there was sufficient opposition, on racial and political grounds, to block its passage. In 1983, legislation making the third Monday in January a federal holiday finally was passed and the first observance nationwide was in 1986.
Each year Georgia State University honors Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and work with numerous activities in January. Campus events feature lectures, discussions, celebration, and community service opportunities that reflect his dream and vision for civil rights and social justice.
39th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
Date: January 2022
For more information, please contact C. Bernard McCrary, Director of Black Student Achievement.