Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Bill

Look back at how the CBC led the charge for creating a federal holiday honoring the civil rights hero.

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) led the charge for the passage of a federal observation of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, honoring his contribution to the United States. Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) first introduced legislation only four days after King was assassinated. Representative Conyers also organized grassroots organizations in support of the King Holiday. For the next 15 years, the CBC would advocate, debate, and sponsor legislation for the holiday. The CBC was steadfast in its efforts.

Finally, in 1983, CBC member and Congresswoman Katie B. Hall (D-IN) introduced the bill that later became public law. On November 3, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law. Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s widow, and members of the CBC observed the signing at the White House.



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