PROCLAMATION: Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday, 2001
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                            January 12, 2001


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                                 A PROCLAMATION

     Seventy-two years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr., was born into a
sharply divided Nation, a place where the color of a child's skin too often
determined that child's destiny.  America was a place where segregation and
discrimination put limits on a black child's dreams, opportunities, and

     Dr. King led America to a better place.  With eloquence, he
articulated the struggles and hopes of generations of African Americans.
With the power of his leadership, he rallied Americans of every race and
creed to join together in the march for justice.  With courage, conviction,
and faith in God, he sought to make real in everyday practice -- in
schools, in the workplace, in public accommodations, and in the hearts and
minds of his fellow citizens -- the civil rights victories that had been
won in the courts.

     Although his life was cruelly cut short before his mission was
complete, he helped put our Nation firmly on the right path, where the
ideals of liberty, equality, brotherhood, and justice are not merely words
on a page, but values honored by all.  "Our freedom was not won a century
ago," he said in 1968, "it is not won today; but some small part of it is
in our hands, and we are marching no longer by ones and twos but in legions
of thousands, convinced now it cannot be denied by any human force."

     It is up to each of us to continue that march.  The gallant freedom
riders and freedom fighters of the civil rights era are growing older, and
many, like Martin Luther King, Jr., are no longer among us.  But their work
must go on.  There are still too many in our Nation who do not share
equally in America's prosperity; minority unemployment and poverty rates,
while decreasing, are still far above the national average; and the
technical skills and resources needed for success in the global economy are
still out of reach for hundreds of thousands of young Americans growing up
in disadvantaged communities.

     I encourage my fellow Americans to use this holiday, dedicated to the
memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to his spirit of service, not as
a day off, but rather as a day to make a difference in the lives of others
-- an opportunity to recognize where we have fallen short, to reach out to
those who have been left behind, and to remove the barriers that keep us
from becoming the promised land that Dr. King envisioned.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States
of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and
laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Monday, January 15, 2001, as
the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday.  I call upon all Americans to
observe this occasion with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities
in honor of Dr. King's life and achievements and in response to his call to

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of
January, in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the Independence
of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fifth.

                              WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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