Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 and was first celebrated a few years later in January 1986.  It took many years for all states, including New Hampshire, to recognize the holiday.

In January 1990, SPS students organized a march to the State Capitol Building, where they read a petition asking the governor to name the holiday in honor of Dr. King.

In part, the petition read:

“New Hampshire is one of only three states that does not observe Martin Luther King’s birthday as a holiday. I believe it is time for a change. By honoring Dr. King with a state holiday, we can demonstrate that the ideals of freedom and equality still stand as hallmarks of New Hampshire’s identity, give recognition to all minority groups that have struggled for equal rights and declare our commitment to realize King’s dream of eradicating racism, poverty and violence. If you believe in peace, justice, and freedom in a nonviolent way, please sign this proposed petition.”

Throughout the 1990’s, SPS students continued to mark the January holiday with a march to the State Capitol Building. New Hampshire finally passed a law to officially acknowledge the Martin Luther King holiday, making January 2000 the first time it was observed in all fifty states.


Students protest before the State Capitol Building, January 1990. (Photo from The Pelican)
















Want to learn more?

Read the Pelican article HERE.

Come by the library to see our display in Baker Reading Room.

Check out a book about Dr. King, his life, and his legacy.

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