Letter from Damon Cleveland to President Reagan Urging the Creation of a Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday
Several students from the P.S. 241 school in Brooklyn, New York wrote letters to President Reagan shortly after his inauguration, urging him to make Dr. King’s birthday a national holiday.
On November 2, 1983, President Reagan signed the Act of Congress that created the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday to occur on the third Monday in January.
"Please put this at the top of your list of things to do."
from the Presidential Timeline
This week in 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Higher Education Facilities Act
At the signing, LBJ said:
"A great former President of the Republic of my State said, ‘The educated mind is the guardian genius of democracy. It is the only dictator that free men recognize and the only ruler that free men desire.’ So this new law is the most significant education bill passed by the Congress in the history of the Republic."
Photo: President Johnson signing the Higher Education Facilities Act, 12/16/63.
-from the LBJ Library
The Little Rock School Integration Crisis
On September 2, the day before school was to start in Little Rock, Arkansas,Governor Orval Faubus ordered the state’s National Guard to surround Central High School to prevent entry of African-American students. The group, since known as the Little Rock Nine, did not attend the first day, but on September 4, the National Guardsmen barred their entry to Central High School.
Three weeks later, amid mob violence outside of the school, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the dispatch of federal troops to uphold the law. Read More.
Photo: National Guard Troops lined up along Park Street in front of Little Rock Central High School. Courtesy of the Central High Museum Historical Collections/UALR Archives and Special Collections. September 1957.
-from the Presidential Timeline
LBJ Signs the Civil Rights Act
On this day in 1964, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, or sex in public accommodations such as hotels, theaters, parks, restaurants, and other public places.
The act also authorized the withdrawal of Federal funds from programs that practice discrimination. It discouraged job discrimination through the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Additionally, it authorized the Attorney General to bring lawsuits against schools practicing segregation, and made the Commission on Civil Rights a permanent organization.
Photo: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act with Martin Luther King, Jr. and others behind him. East Room, White House. 7/2/64.
-from the LBJ Library
"That we have the vote means nothing. That we use it in the right way means everything. Our political work has only begun when we have the ballot. And that work should be carried out exactly as our college work is — as any good work which we undertake is — it must be thoughtful, idealistic, clean, effective."
-Lou Henry Hoover, April 10, 1920
Before she was First Lady, Lou Henry Hoover spoke at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. At the time of her speech, the 19th Amendment had been passed by Congress. On August 18, 1920, the amendment was ratified, guaranteeing American women the right to vote.
-from the Hoover Library