Martin Luther King Jr. Day TimelineApril 8, 1968: Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. submits the first legislation proposing King's birthday as holiday, four days after King was assassinated.
Jan. 15, 1969: About 1,200 automotive-plant workers in North Tarrytown, N.Y., stay home from work in observance of King's birthday. Sixty were suspended and others threatened with disciplinary action.
March 25, 1970: Conyers and Rep. Shirley Chisholm, D-N.Y., announce hearings to study holiday issue after petitions carrying 6 million signatures are submitted to Congress.
April 10, 1970: California passes legislation making King's birthday a school holiday, first state to do so.
July 15, 1970: Seattle School Board designates King's birthday a school holiday starting in 1971. Also, state Rep. George Fleming begins hearings to make the date a legal state holiday.
January 1981: In two incidents, six workers are fired from Seattle's Todd Shipyards after distributing leaflets to support the holiday.
Aug. 2, 1983: House of Representatives approves legislation, 338-90, making birthday a national legal holiday the third Monday in January beginning in 1986.
Oct. 19, 1983: Senate, defying efforts by Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., to sidetrack legislation, approves measure 78-22.
Nov. 2, 1983: Legislation for national holiday signed by President Ronald Reagan.
Feb. 24, 1984: Washington State Legislature approves state school holiday.
Sept. 11, 1984: Seattle City Council makes third Monday in January a holiday for city employees to mark King's birthday.
Jan. 20, 1986: First observance of birthday as a legal holiday nationwide.