Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. In 1983 the holiday was signed into law and was first observed three years later. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000. In 1994 federal legislation was signed into law that challenges Americans to transform the federal holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thousands of people across the nation volunteer their time to make a difference on this day, allowing the legacy of Dr. King to continue to grow.