For more than 25 years, the AFL-CIO’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observance has brought together more than 500 trade unionists annually to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King, perform community service, and examine current civil and human rights issues. This event reinforces the historic bond between the labor and civil rights movements, honors Dr. King’s vision on the importance of collective action—whether at the voting booth or at the workplace—and mobilizes participants to continue their work to make Dr. King’s dream a reality.
After Congress passed legislation creating a federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an effort in which the AFL-CIO played a key role, the AFL-CIO formed a labor committee to find a way to honor the holiday and birthday of Dr. King. At the outset, the AFL-CIO worked in conjunction with the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta to organize an annual observance in Atlanta. Starting in 1998, the annual observance has been held in different cities each year.