The Making of the Holiday
On Monday, January 20, 1986, in cities and towns across the country people celebrated the first official Dr. Martin Luther King Day, the only federal holiday commemorating an African-American.
A ceremony, which took place at an old railroad depot in Atlanta Georgia, was especially emotional. Hundreds had gathered to sing and to march.
Many were the same people who, in 1965, had marched for fifty miles between two cities in the state of Alabama to protest segregation and discrimination of black Americans.
All through the 1980's, controversy surrounded the idea of a King Day. Congressional representatives and citizens had petitioned the President to make January 15th, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, a federal holiday. Others wanted to make the holiday on the day he died, while some people did not want to have any holiday at all.
January 15th had been observed as a public holiday for many years in 27 states and Washington, D.C. Finally, in 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared the third Monday in January a federally legal holiday commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King' Jr.'s birthday.
Colorado MLK Celebration History
On April 4, 1985 Colorado's Governor Dick Lamm signed the legislation into law making the birth date of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a Colorado holiday.
At this time, Mrs. Webb announced that Colorado would have the first ever Marade, a word created by merging the words March & Parade
Friday, January 17, 1986 the MLK Commission hosted the first Business Social Responsibility Luncheon.
Sunday, January 19, 1986 the MLK Commission hosted the first Interfaith Services.