The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday celebrates the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America. We commemorate as well the timeless values he taught us through his example — the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that so radiantly defined Dr. King’s character and empowered his leadership. On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.
Dr. King once said that we all have to decide whether we “will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. Life’s most persistent and nagging question, he said, is `what are you doing for others?’”
January 18, 1986 – A Presidential Proclamation marking the first observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King as a national holiday
August 23, 1994 – President Clinton signs the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday and Service Act, expanding the mission of the holiday as a day of community service, interracial cooperation and youth anti-violence initiatives
118 Stat. 1746 - An act to authorize the President to award a gold medal on behalf of the Congress to Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. (posthumously) and his widow Coretta Scott King in recognition of their contributions to the Nation on behalf of the civil rights movement
President Obama visiting the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall, October 14, 2011
Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States Photographic Portfolio: Barack H. Obama (2011, Book 2)
President Clinton assisting in the Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service painting project at Cardozo High School, January 19,1998
Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)
Visit the Cooperation for National and Community Service's MLK Day of Service website for more information on how you can get involved and make the King Day of Service, “A Day On, Not a Day Off”.Browse photographs of Dr. King on the Library of Congress' Online Prints and Photograph Catalog.
In honor of MLK Day, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee, will offer free admission to everyone on that day. There will be three additional entrance fee-free days this year. Visit the National Park Service's website for details. Plan your visit to the MLK National Historical Park in Atlanta, GA, and the MLK Memorial in Washington DC.