It took 15 years to create a holiday for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. After the assassination of King, Congressman John Conyers introduced it for a national holiday. Of course it didn’t happen immediately. It took former President Ronald Reagan to sign it into law. Not everyone agreed to the holiday that was to be expected. However, it is no need for people to believe that all states were for the holiday when in actuality they were not. Here is a look at nine states who had an issue with getting on board with the new law. So, the next time you are passing through one of these states just remember, they didn’t want MLK Day! So, they might not want you there now, especially those that have not changed the name, or still celebrating Confederate Robert Lee on the same day!
- Arizona: The governor of Arizona, Evan Mecham, rescinded the day in 1987, after it went into effect in 1986. Citizens of Arizona voted to enact MLK day in 1992. A boycott was set off in 1993, and the NFL had to move the Super Bowl from Phoenix, AZ to Pasadena, California.
- Idaho: Wow! Idaho how was the 47th state to actually recognize MLK Day. Law makers of the state questioned whether or not Dr. King was really important, and decided the 3rd Monday of January would be known as “Idaho Human Rights Day.” The state still refers to it has “Idaho Human Rights Day.”
- New Hampshire: New Hampshire replaced its Civil Rights Day with MLK Day. However, it was the last state to adopt the day as a paid state holiday.
- Utah: Originally known as Human Rights Day, Utah was the last state in 2000 to recognize MLK Day by name.
- South Carolina: So, in the state of South Carolina the state employees had a choice they could either celebrate a “Confederate holiday, or MLK Day.
- Virginia: Once known as Lee-Jackson-King Day, the state honored the birthdays of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J ‘Stonewall’ Jackson in addition to celebrating King. In 2000, MLK Day was given its own date, with Lee-Jackson Day moving to the Friday before MLK Day.
- Alabama: In the state of Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is celebrated as “Robert E. Lee/Martin Luther King Day.” Of course, Robert E. Lee was a Confederate General.
- Arkansas: Again both MLK and Lee are celebrated on the same day in Arkansas.
- Mississippi: This state also celebrates both King’s and Robert E. Lee’s birthdays on the same date.