Reagan Establishes National Holiday For MLK , Nov. 2, 1983

President Ronald Reagan, followed by Coretta Scott King, on Nov. 2, 1983, shakes hands with those there to witness the signing of the bill making Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday.

During a White House Rose Garden ceremony held on this day in 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed into law a bill creating a national holiday to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader who had been assassinated in 1968, while supporting a strike by black sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. The bill had cleared the House by a veto-proof …

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