Segments in this Video

Political Support for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (02:55)


The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sparked widespread rioting across the nation. Representative John Conyers of Detroit discusses his proposal to memorialize Dr. King's life, achievements, and vision with a holiday.

Popular Support for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (06:03)

Coretta Scott King and others describe their work to establish a holiday to honor the life and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A strong grassroots movement and the voices of celebrities, including musician Stevie Wonder, were instrumental in building support.

A March on Washington for Martin Luther King, Jr. (02:58)

Coretta Scott King, musician Stevie Wonder, and others speak at a rally in Washington, D.C. encouraging lawmakers to establish a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The rally coincided with the 20th anniversary of King's 1963 March on Washington.

Opposition to a Holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr. (03:44)

Senator Jessie Helms led conservative Republican opposition to establishing a national holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Helms and other politicians and leaders comment on the debate over the proposed holiday.

Congress Establishes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (02:27)

In 1983 Coretta Scott King stood with Senator Ted Kennedy as he announced Congress had passed a bill establishing a national holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Mrs. King stood beside President Reagan as he signed the bill into law.

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. (05:08)

Actor LeVar Burton comments on the significance of the holiday honoring Martin Luther King and he shares a quote from King's book, "The Measure of a Man." Stevie Wonder sings "Happy Birthday, Martin" at the 1983 March on Washington.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: The Making of a Holiday

DVD Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Paying lip service to Dr. King’s message is one thing, creating a national holiday is quite another. This is the story of how Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, birthday became a national holiday—of the unrelenting drive of his widow, Coretta Scott King, to carry on his work; of politicians (especially Representative John Conyers, Jr.) determined to memorialize Dr. King and offer hope as the alternative to black rage at his assassination; of the ultimately silly arguments against the holiday (such as the economic cost of lost man-hours of work). Rare documentary footage and interviews follow the chronology of events, while the participation of Stevie Wonder, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Diana Ross, and host LeVar Burton provides the program with genuine celebration. From King’s "I Have a Dream" speech to Stevie Wonder’s "Happy Birthday, Martin," this is an engaging look at the making of a holiday. (28 minutes)

Length: 25 minutes

Item#: BVL1691

ISBN: 978-1-4213-2026-7

Copyright date: ©1978

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.