November 2, 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation creating a federal Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday to be observed on the third Monday in January each year in honor of the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The legislation was introduced in Congress by Representative John Conyers of Detroit, Michigan. The holiday was first observed in 1986, but it was not officially observed in all 50 states until 2000 when South Carolina made it an official state holiday. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is one of three federal holidays to commemorate an individual.