Arizona's King Holiday history dates back to 1984. Find out about the journey to honor – and to keep – a dream...














July: Phoenix City Council unanimously votes to honor Dr. King with a paid holiday for city workers.




January: Phoenix is state's first city with official paid King holiday plus prayer breakfast, youth art exhibit, march and festival; other cities soon follow.




Early: Legislative action to establish a paid state holiday passes in the Senate but fails in the House by 1 vote.


Late: Gov. Bruce Babbitt creates a paid state holiday via his power of executive order to be celebrated the third Monday in January.




January: Newly elected Gov. Evan Mecham rescinds the paid state holiday claiming Babbitt's executive order illegal; he declares the third Sunday in January as the state-recognized King holiday because it would be more appropriate since King was a Baptist minister.




September: Arizona Legislature passes a bill that creates a paid King holiday eliminating Columbus Day so as not to create an additional state-paid holiday.




August: A petition to restore Columbus Day and force the King holiday to a public vote was successful; the petition drive garnered 71,055 signatures.


November: Proposition 302, which would establish a state-paid King holiday and retain a paid Columbus Day holiday, was defeated by 1 percent; a related Proposition (301) to create a state-paid King holiday and eliminate a paid Columbus Day holiday also was defeated.




March: Arizona Legislature passes a referendum to put to public vote a bill that would combine Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays into President's Day and establish a King Civil Rights Day to be observed the third Monday in January to go into effect in 1993.




November: 61 percent of Arizona voters approve Proposition 300 to establish a paid King holiday; 39 percent voted against the measure.




January: The first paid state holiday honoring Dr. King is celebrated in Arizona.




January: 10th anniversary of a paid King holiday is observed.




January: 20th anniversary of a paid King holiday is observed.




January: 30th anniversary of a paid King holiday is observed.

Year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's assassination.