ITTA BENA, MS (WLBT) - Bill H. R. 3706, commonly known as the “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday Law Bill,” was introduced by U.S. Representative Katie Green Hall, a native of Mound Boyou, Mississippi.
Hall, who earned a degree in Political Science from Mississippi Valley State University--then called Mississippi Vocational College--was appointed to the United States House of Representatives in September of 1982.
One of her main goals while in Congress was to memorialize the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. in the form of a national holiday.
After hotly contested debates, Hall’s “King Bill” passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 338-90. It was then signed into law by Ronald Reagan on Nov. 2, 1983.
This would be the first national holiday in honor of an African-American.
“Martin Luther King. Jr. gave to this great country a new understanding of equality and justice for all," said Hall. "This legislation will act as a national commitment to Dr. King’s vision of an ideal America.”
Hall passed away at the age of 73 in Gary, Indiana, and was immortalizes by Governor Phil Bryant when he proclaimed July 9, 2016 as “Katie Hall Day.”