Each January, Americans pause to honor the late clergyman and civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King. Some government operations, public services, schools, and other activities close their doors for Martin Luther King Day.
Dr. Martin Luther King received the Nobel Prize in 1968, honoring him for his active role in passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and civil rights in America in the 1950s and 1960s.
Special commemorative celebrations and projects are also planned to mark the occasion, which became a federal holiday in 1983.
Here are 12 fast facts about Martin Luther King Day.
- Martin Luther King Day is held annually on the third Monday of January. Dr. Martin Luther King’s actual date of birth was January 15, 1929.
- August 28, 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which he delivered at the March on Washington, DC., in 1963.
- Martin Luther King Day is also known as Civil Rights Day in Arizona and New Hampshire, Equality Day in Wyoming, and Human Rights Day in Idaho.
- Most city, county, state, and national government offices are closed. This includes Department of Motor Vehicles licensing facilities and court operations. Police and fire departments remain open.
- The United States Postal Service is closed on Martin Luther King Day with no mail delivery.
- America’s National Park Service offers free admission on Martin Luther King Day.
- Many public schools are off for Martin Luther King Day. (Check individual school calendars to confirm.)
- Public libraries are not open on Martin Luther King Day, along with many major museums and public attractions.
- Banks take a holiday on Martin Luther King Day. Automated teller machines (ATMs) and banking websites remain open, although transactions may require an additional day to process.
- Local trash pickups may or may not take place on Martin Luther King Day.
- Parking meters and city-run parking lots may or may not require fees on this holiday. (Check local regulations.)
- Most major stores and plenty of businesses do operate on Martin Luther King Day.
Martin Luther King Day celebrations are planned for these dates:
- Monday, January 20, 2014
- Monday, January 19, 2015
- Monday, January 18, 2016
- Monday, January 16, 2017
- Monday, January 15, 2018
- Monday, January 21, 2019
- Monday, January 20, 2020
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