Civil Rights Day

Civil Rights Day

This state holiday is celebrated by New Hampshire and Arizona on the third Monday of every January to commemorate civil rights activism, augmenting the federal celebration of Martin Luther King Day. Many schools, offices, and businesses close.

Civil Rights Day replaced Fast days in New Hampshire in 1991. Fast days had been observed for centuries, but the practice was abolished in favor of different types of observance. In New Hampshire, although the two holidays are closely associated, as a result of a more than a decade long debate over the holiday’s name, Dr. King’s name was removed from Civil Rights Day. In Arizona, voters established Martin Luther King, Jr./Civil Rights Day in 1992.

The Civil Rights Movement

This movement has been in support of legal equality for all, referring to inequality and oppression of a variety of groups, including racial groups, women, the LGBT community, and other demographics. It is widely referenced in association with the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s, in which Dr. King was instrumental. This movement called for equality, an end to segregation, a right to vote, worker’s rights, and other issues of equality. Other notable associations include the Chicano movement during the 1960’s and 1970’s and Native Americans during roughly the same period. There are a number of significant activists besides King, including:

  • W.E.B. Du Bois
  • Malcolm X
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Nina Simone
  • Marva Collins
  • Jesse Jackson
  • And many others
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