Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr., American activist, pastor, and influential leader of the civil rights movement, King is one of the most-celebrated public figures in American history.
Starting out as a Baptist minister, King threw himself onto the national stage in the mid 1950s. In 1955, he led the famous Montgomery bus boycott, and a couple of years later founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1962, he spearheaded protests in Birmingham, Alabama and at 1963’s March on Washington gave the most famous and influential speech of his career as an activist – the “I Have a Dream” speech.
He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
King was assassinated on April 4th, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray.
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, of course. The holiday was established in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan and first celebrated on January 20th, 1986. A bill was introduced to Congress in 1979 to establish the holiday honoring King, but failed by a few votes. The cause was aided a couple of years later after a national petition garnered a massive 6 million signatures.
MLK Day was not recognized as a paid holiday for state employees in all states until 2000, when South Carolina finally made it an official state holiday.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January, which is always around MLK’s birthday of January 15th.