[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents Volume 30, Number 2 (Monday, January 17, 1994)]
[Pages 50-51]
[Online from the Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

Proclamation 6645--Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, 1994

January 14, 1994

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

    On January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr., was born, destined to 
make our world a greater and more noble one. Growing up in a landscape 
disfigured with ``Colored Only'' and ``White Only'' signs and a society 
rife with other demeaning racial barriers and distinctions, Martin 
Luther King, Jr., sadly learned that the Constitution's guarantee of 
equality was denied to most black Americans. He dedicated his life to 
ending the injustice of racism, gracing the world with his vision of a 
land guided by love instead of hatred and by acceptance instead of 
    Three decades ago, Dr. King described his goals most eloquently in 
his famous ``I Have a Dream'' speech at the historic Civil Rights March 
on Washington. The impassioned plea that rose from the steps of the 
Lincoln Memorial that summer day stirred the entire Nation, awakening 
people everywhere to turn from the scourge of racism to embrace the 
promise of opportunity and democracy for all. He prophetically described 
a future in which our children are judged ``not by the color of their 
skin, but by the content of their

[[Page 51]]

character.'' His unparalleled commitment to justice and nonviolence 
challenged us to look deeply within ourselves to find the roots of 
    Throughout his all too brief life, Martin Luther King, Jr., often 
confronted powerful and even violent opposition, sacrificing his 
liberty, his personal safety, and, ultimately, his life for the cause of 
freedom. Though an assassin's bullet silenced him forever at the young 
age of 39, Dr. King's words and deeds continue to live on within each of 
us. We, the inheritors of the fundamental rights he helped to secure, 
are forever grateful for his legacy.
    Today, we live in a nation that is stronger because of Dr. King's 
work. Unfortunately, there is still much division in this great land. 
Even though the signs that once segregated our communities have been 
removed, we are still far from achieving the world for which Dr. King 
struggled, toiled, and bled. He did not live and die to create a world 
in which people kill each other with reckless abandon. He did not live 
and die to see families destroyed, to see communities abandoned, and to 
see hope disappear. If we are to be faithful to Dr. King's vision, we 
must each seize responsibility for realizing the goals he worked so 
tirelessly to fulfill. Dr. King's valiant struggle for true equality 
will be won, not by the fleeting passion of eloquent words, but by the 
quiet persistence of individual acts of decency, justice, and human 
kindness. We must carry the power of his wisdom with us, not only by 
celebrating his birthday, but also by inscribing its meaning upon our 
hearts, teaching our children the value and significance of every human 
    Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United 
States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the 
Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Monday, 
January 17, 1994, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday. I 
call upon the people of the United States to observe the occasion with 
appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
    In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day 
of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-four, 
and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred 
and eighteenth.
                                            William J. Clinton

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:26 a.m., January 14, 

Note: This proclamation will be published in the Federal Register on 
January 18.