Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Tue, Jan. 28

State walked tough road to MLK Jr. Day

All too recently, the nation looked upon Arizona as a racist state.

The sunshine image began to splinter when the then-governor, almost immediately after he took office in 1987, repealed the state's Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The issue continued to boil, got back on the ballot, and voters rejected it again – and the Super Bowl scrapped a plan for a game in Tempe.

What the rest of the nation would not know is the imbroglio had little to do with Martin Luther King Jr. and how the state should show respect for him. The underlying discontent wrapped around resentment for government employees getting another paid holiday and a perception that Phoenix was whining because, when the Super Bowl disappeared from the calendar, so did a lot of money into its economy.

Thousands marched for years on King's birthday to draw attention to Arizona's faux pas. At last, integrity won over pettiness in 1992, when the voters of Arizona passed a referendum making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a state holiday.

This blight on Arizona's face is well behind us now.

But, it remains a lesson. As the state grows, so does its diversity, a rich one to embrace.

We have enough sunshine for everyone.

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