In the spirit of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, we put ourselves to work to crunch some MLK Day numbers.
The holiday that falls on the third Monday in January was first celebrated on Jan. 20, 1986 after King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, and musician Stevie Wonder petitioned more than 6 million people to get then-President Ronald Reagan to sign off (signed in 1983) on making MLK day a federal holiday.
900 … the number of streets nationally named for Dr. King
5 … the number of streets in Pennsylvania named for Dr. King
33 … the number of years since the first MLK day
Dates of note
Jan. 15, 1929 – Dr. King’s birthday.
April 8, 1968 – the first bill to make MLK day a federal holiday is introduced by the late U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan.
Nov. 3, 1983 – then-President Ronald Reagan signs legislation creating the national holiday.
Aug. 23, 1994 – the day of service tagline is added to the holiday by former President Bill Clinton.
Philadelphia earns its name
The City of Brotherly Love has historically laid out some impressive numbers on MLK day with the number of volunteers charting in the six-figure range.
In 1996, 1,000 volunteers gathered in Philadelphia to start the national King Day of Service movement. According to the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, more than 150,000 volunteers contributed to over 1,800 projects across the region last year.
This year, the organization celebrates its 25th annual day of service with some incredible statistics.
320,000 … the number of service hours performed in 2019 by volunteers.
$8 million … the total dollar value of the work completed at last year’s event.