There actually was controversy about the recognition of the third Monday in January becoming a national holiday honoring the birth of Martin Luther King Jr.
And actually it wasn’t officially recognized in the 50 states until the turn of the Century.
On certain occasions our country becomes so polarized it is sometimes difficult to fathom how it even functions on what is only the third national holiday honoring a single person joining George Washington and Christopher Columbus.
Originally after King’s 1968 assassination labor unions sought recognition for the famed Civil rights leader and the bill initially before the U.S. House of Representatives in 1979 failed by just five votes citing a holiday honoring a private person was unprecedented and the cost of an additional federal day off was too expensive.
But President Ronald Reagan, who initially was opposed, signed the bill into law in 1983 but it took three more years before it was first observed.
Some six million people, reportedly the most ever, signed a Congressional petition to prompt passage of the law.
But such recognition was by no means observed nationally with Utah being the last state to come aboard with several states instead calling the day Civil Rights Day or other monikers.
It remains unobserved by some states who either employees the option of having a paid MLK Day off or trading it as floating holiday.
A 1977 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004 Rev King first surfaced as a civil rights leader in the 1950s and 60s advocating non-violence improvement in discrimination and the culmination of segregation.
Time Magazine named King Man of the Year in 1963, a year prior to his winning Nobel Peace Prize.
Even in the northern states during that time often discrimination was much like today quite subtle.
And while King preached non violence that certainly was not the order of the day after his assassination which prompted large city riots with some dozen people dying in Chicago alone where there were 350 arrests, according to historynet.com.
King’s August 1963 “I have a Dream” speech remains one of this country’s most prominent and highly quoted orations.
In part sponsored by Atlanta Congressman John Lewis many firms and individuals use today, tabbed the King Day of Service, as a time to volunteer services in honor of Rev King.
And you … just sayin’.mp3