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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Day of Service Month on behalf of dear brother King - Martin L. King, Jr.


January 7, 2015 - LATE EDITION
City Center Milwaukee | Day 128 | JANUARY is the month of Dr. Martin L. King Birthday. 

                            January 15, 1929 is Dr. King's birthday.

At the White House Rose Garden on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill, proposed by Representative Katie Hall of Indiana (2nd from left), creating a federal holiday to honor King.  It was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986.
The bill established the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission to oversee observance of the holiday, and Coretta Scott King (1st left), Martin Luther King Jr.'s wife, was made a member of this commission for life by President George H. W. Bush in May 1989.
Opposition
Dr.King's birthday is one of the national-federal holidays in America.  It is important to know and remember that his birthday was bitterly opposed by leaders in Congress to NOT become a "national holiday".  It was made a holiday in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan after an overwhelming vote of 300 - 90 margin in the House of Representatives.  President Reagan originally opposed Dr. King's holiday stating cost was the reason.  It took 32 years to become a law.

In 1968, shortly after Martin Luther King died, a campaign was started for his birthday to become a holiday to honor him. After the first bill was introduced, trade unions lead the campaign for the federal holiday. It was endorsed in 1976. Following support from the musician Stevie Wonder with his single "Happy Birthday" and a petition with six million signatures, the bill became law in 1983. Martin Luther King Day was first observed in 1986, although it was not observed in all states until the year 2000. In 1990, the Wyoming legislature designated Martin Luther King Jr/Wyoming Equality Day as a legal holiday.
Rep. John Conyers & Senator Edward Brooke (deceased)
United States Representative John Conyers (a Democrat from Michigan) and United States Senator Edward Brooke (a Republican from Massachusetts) introduced a bill in Congress to make King's birthday a national holiday. The bill first came to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1979. However, it fell five votes short of the number needed for passage. Two of the main arguments mentioned by opponents were that a paid holiday for federal employees would be too expensive, and that a holiday to honor a private citizen would be contrary to longstanding tradition (King had never held public office). Only two other people have national holidays in the United States honoring them:  George Washington and Christopher Columbus.
L-R:  Senator John Porter East and Senator Jesse Helms (both deceased)
Senators Jesse Helms and John Porter East (both North Carolina Republicans) led opposition to the bill and questioned whether King was important enough to receive such an honor. Helms criticized King's opposition to the Vietnam War and accused him of espousing "action-oriented Marxism". Helms led a filibuster against the bill and on October 3, 1983, submitted a 300-page document to the Senate alleging that King had associations with communists. New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan declared the document a "packet of filth", threw it on the Senate floor and stomped on it.
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Martin Luther King was an important civil rights activist. He was a leader in the movement to end racial segregation in the United States. His most famous address was the "I Have A Dream" speech. He was an advocate of non-violent protest and became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated in 1968.
DAY OF SERVICE
The national Martin Luther King Day of Service was started by former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, who co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. The federal legislation challenges Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service in honor of Dr. King. The federal legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 23, 1994. Since 1996, Wofford's former state office director, Todd Bernstein, has been directing the annual Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service, the largest event in the nation honoring Dr. King.
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Milwaukee Professionals Association LLC recognizes Dr. King by asking you to join us in giving to your chosen place, January 15, 2015 and January 19, 2015 - Day of Service.  


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