Civil Rights Day

Civil Rights Day is a state holiday observed in Arizona and New Hampshire in the U.S. This day falls on the third Monday of January and honors the achievements and life of Martin Luther King Jr., although his name isn’t explicitly mentioned in these two states’ celebrations of the holiday.

At least, that was the case until Martin Luther King Jr. Day was recognized as a holiday in both states—although it’s still referred to as Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day. Regardless of the holiday’s name, its purpose is to remember the importance of the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. and the impact that Martin Luther King Jr. had on that movement.

The History of Civil Rights Day

In 1983, U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation that established Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday in the U.S. It would take effect three years later, but not every U.S. state would adopt the holiday at the state level.

New Hampshire created Civil Rights Day in 1991 and abolished a holiday they had previously observed: Fast Day. Arizona also created a Civil Rights Day but would eventually establish a Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1992. Seven years later, in 1999, New Hampshire became the last state to name a holiday after King, and it was first celebrated in January of 2000.

Observing Civil Rights Day

Civil Rights Day is best observed by learning more about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. In January, many schools organize their lesson plans around this holiday, and students often write essays on the subject of civil rights.

On this day, special TV programs and movies centered around the Civil Rights Movement are often aired on television. People also use the hashtag #CivilRightsDay to spread the word about this holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
United States (State holiday) - Arizona, new hampshire
When is it?
This year (2024)
January 15 Monday
Next year (2025)
January 20 Monday
Last year (2023)
January 16 Monday