MLK Day support: U.S. Rep John Conyers Jr., D-Detroit, helped establish the national holiday commemorating MLK. Conyers introduced legislation four days after King’s assassination in 1968 for a federal holiday honoring King. The bill, however, did not move. In the following decade, Conyers reintroduced the bill several times. Supporters of the holiday worked to gather support, from gathering petitions to asking states and cities to pass similar designations. The bill was reintroduced in 1983. It passed the House 338-90 and the Senate 78-22. President Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law on Nov 2, 1983.