Jan. 20, 1986: MLK Day observed for the first time

28 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed for the first time. The holiday was initially proposed by Rep. John Conyers (D., MI) and  Sen. Edward Brooke (D., Mass) in 1979 but was rejected, citing tradition and the cost of a government holiday.

The measure was signed by then-President Reagan in 1983, after being introduced by Rep. Katie Hall of Indiana. He, too, had initially rejected the bill due to cost concerns.

The bill created the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission, to which Coretta Scott King (his wife) was appointed by George H.W. Bush in 1989.

Abigail Shah

Co-founder of Motor City Muckraker, Abigail Shah is a native Detroit and graduated with a BS in psychology from Wayne State University.