Howard Bennett (1911-1981), a Harlem community leader, was the founder of the National Citizens Committee for a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. From the time of Dr. King’s assassination on April 4, 1968 until his own death 13 years later, Bennett campaigned persistently to make January 15, the birthday of the civil rights leader, a national holiday. Bennett and several friends conceived the idea while returning from Dr. King’s funeral in Atlanta. After renting a storefront in Harlem, he enlisted the help of a few dedicated grassroots activists and began gathering signatures on petitions.
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