Typically early April weather in Northwest Indiana is not favorable for outside events, however on April 6, 2019 it turned out to be an exceptional day to honor remarkable people and unveil a new historic landmark in Gary.
In 1982, then Indiana State Senator Katie Hall was elected as the first African American to serve in the United States House of Representatives representing the State of Indiana. Most famously, in 1983, Hall successfully authored House of Representatives Bill, H.R. 3706, now known as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday Law. H.R. 3706, designated the third Monday in January in which to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was U.S. Representative Hall’s version of “The King Bill,” which was signed into federal law by President Ronald Reagan on November 2, 1983. That moment in history has been also memorialized in a post card, which depicts the signing of H.R.3706 into law in the White House Rose Garden.
Today, according to The King Center in Atlanta, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday Law is celebrated by millions of Americans, and in some form, in more than 100 countries around the world. Dr. King is also the only African-American in United States History to be honored with a national holiday.
Adding to the numerous ways in which people currently honor and pay tribute to the King Holiday will be a permanent historic marker in a donated lot next door to the home of Katie Hall. Her husband still resides in the home.
On the afternoon of April 6, 2019 community, civic and government leaders gathered for the unveiling of “Representative Katie Hall and Passage of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday Law” Historical Marker.
Among the speakers were Founder, Chairman and CEO of the Katie Hall Educational Foundation, Inc., Junifer Hall; Attorney John Henry Hall, Chief Legal Counsel & Chaplain, Katie Hall Education Foundation, Inc.; Casey Pfeiffer, Historical Marker Program Director of the Indiana Historical Bureau; Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson; Gary Common Council President Ronald G. Brewer, Sr. and the Katie Hall Educational Foundation, Inc. Public Service Awards Luncheon honorees — Editor and Publisher Dorothy R. Leavell and Steve Sanders, who is a Chicago anchor at WGN-TV, Chan- nel 9 .
Special acknowledgements and congratulations included letters from Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and Dr. Bernice A. King on behalf of the King Center’s Board of Trustees.