In 1983, Republican President Ronald Reagan signed the bill to make the 3rd Monday in January a holiday in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a Baptist minister like his father and grandfather. He was pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, and Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
He formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Booker T. Washington founded Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, and wrote Up From Slavery (1901), in which he stated:
"I resolved that I would permit no man, no matter what his color might be, to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.
With God's help, I believe that I have completely rid myself of any ill feeling toward the Southern white man for any wrong that he may have inflicted upon my race ...
I pity from the bottom of my heart any individual who is so unfortunate as to get into the habit of holding race prejudice."
On January 20, 1997, Rev. Billy Graham delivered the invocation just prior to the Second Inauguration of President Bill Clinton, stating:
"Oh, Lord, help us to be reconciled first to you and secondly to each other. May Dr. Martin Luther King's dream finally come true for all of us.
Help us to learn our courtesy to our fellow countrymen, that comes from the One Who taught us that 'whatever you want me to do to you, do also to them.'"
The Apostle Paul wrote these timeless words about reconciliation and the ministry of reconciliation He has given to us who have been reconciled to God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
"7 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made Him Who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:17-21, NIV).
May God help us to love all people of this world regardless of their race, color, or creed. In loving them we can pray for their salvation and the blessings of Almighty God Who does not wish any man to perish, but be given eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.