dc's push for MLK holiday began in 1968
The roots of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (first observed as a federal holiday on 20 January 1986) began in 1968 on the local and federal level in DC.
According to Keith Mayers, author of Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition, on 8 April 1968, John Conyers, Michigan congressperson, introduced House bill HR 16510, to make King's birthday a federal holiday. Edward Brooke, Massachusetts senator, joined Conyers by issuing Senate Resolution 159.
On the local level, individuals and groups organized to request that businesses close to honor King. They also urged the DC City Council to make 4 April a local holiday. "The City Council was...steeped in black holiday politics as public hearings on a public recognition of Martin Luther King continued throughout 1968 and 1969, forcing the law-making body to consider making April 4 a local holiday for city employees" (Mayes, pp. 33-34).
The image above, photographed on 3 April 1969, urges residents to honor the 1 year anniversary of King's assassination by not working on 4 April. This flyer was posted somewhere on H St. NW.
Source: Marion S. Trikosko, photographer, Library of Congress
I plan to look at the City Council records to find more about the 1968 efforts toward a local King holiday.
Were you part of the effort to make King's birthday and/or assassination a local holiday? Do you have a copy of the flyer above? Did you (not) go to work on 4 April 1969?
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