Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was signed into law by former president Ronald Reagan on November 2, 1983, fifteen years after Dr. King's assassination. The holiday is celebrated in the United States every year on the third Monday of January. On this day, federal buildings, banks, post offices, and most schools close in his honor. The first national celebration of this holiday was held on January 20, 1986. Each year it has a different theme, promoting the equality and non-discrimination ideals that were at the heart of Dr. King's cause.

The bill proposed to make a holiday in Dr. King's honor wasn't supported by everyone, though. It did pass the House of Representatives by a vote of 338 to 90. Then went on to the Senate where it also passed. Although, one senator from Georgia opposed the bill and said that Dr. King was a communist.