Proclamation 5927 --
Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, 1989
December 23, 1988
the President of the United States of
January, America celebrates a national
holiday in honor of the birthday of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.
We do so in memory of a man who asked to be recalled by his countrymen not for
any earthly honors he had won but as ``a drum major for justice.'' That title
he deemed greater than any other because earning it would mean that he had not
lived his life in vain.
America does remember Dr. King
as a drum major for justice, as a giant whose life was far from being in vain.
In a sermon on the eve of his assassination, he surely described his own
mission when he asked, ``Who is it that is supposed to
articulate the longings and aspirations of the people more than the preacher? Somehow
the preacher must be an Amos, and say, `Let justice roll down like waters and
righteousness like a mighty stream.''' Martin Luther King, Jr., did exactly
that. He gave eloquent voice and powerful leadership to the long-cherished
hopes of millions as he headed a crusade to end bigotry, segregation, and
discrimination in our land; to foster equal opportunity; and to make universal America's promise of liberty
and justice for all.
King's work is not done, but neither is his witness stilled. He urged again and
again that all of us come to love and befriend one another, to live in
brotherhood and reconciliation, to nourish each and every individual's dignity
and self-respect. We must reaffirm in every generation the lessons of justice
and charity that Dr. King taught with his unflinching determination, his
complete confidence in the redeeming power of love, and his utter willingness
to suffer, to sacrifice, and to serve. We must, and we can, all be drum majors
for justice. That is our duty and our glory as Americans. On Martin Luther
King, Jr., Day and every day let us unite in prayer and promise to be true to
the American Dream he loved and renewed.
Public Law 98 - 144, the third Monday in January of each year has been
designated as a public holiday in honor of the ``Birthday of Martin Luther
Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of
America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the
Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Monday,
January 16, 1989, as Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.
Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of December,
in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of
America the two hundred and thirteenth.
[Filed with the Office
of the Federal Register, , December 27, 1988]