Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend open thread

Technically, it’s still a long weekend for some people, so here’s an open thread for all topics.

Establishing a holiday to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a long road, as Ben Kamisar reported for The Hill yesterday:

The King holiday used to be controversial, only passing the House more than ten years after Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) filed the first bill calling for a day to commemorate the slain civil rights icon. The measure eventually passed in 1983. Ninety representatives and 22 senators voted against it. […]

There are only six current members of Congress who previously voted against creating a national holiday for King. Another small handful did so at the state level.

The six who cast votes against the national holiday are all Republicans: Sens. Richard Shelby (Ala.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), John McCain (Ariz.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah), as well as Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.) and Hal Rogers (Ky.). Shelby cast his vote as a Democrat, before he switched parties. […]

A Grassley spokesperson noted that the Senator has been “very active in several African American causes,” including efforts to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act when he joined the Senate in the early 1980s. More recently, he has advocated for black farmers who had been discriminated against when applying for financial help.

“Senator Grassley’s vote against an MLK Day holiday was purely an economic decision both in the cost to the broader economy in lost productivity, and the cost to the taxpayers with the federal government closed,” the aide told The Hill in an email.  

Not one of Grassley’s finer moments, that’s for sure.

Bleeding Heartland has compiled other links related to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. here, here, here, here, and here.

I haven’t seen the movie “Selma” yet. For those who have, what did you think?

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