Katie Hall, 73, Pushed for King Holiday

Katie Hall, a sponsor of the 1983 law that established a national holiday for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., died Feb. 23 in Gary, Ind. She was 73. Although she was just a freshman congresswoman at the time, she was credited with playing a key role in winning approval for Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday holiday, which is observed on the third Monday in January. The proposal had stalled in the House for 14 years. Hall sought the chairmanship of the Post Office and civil service subcommittee so she could get the bill moving. “Sometimes when you get to the goal line, it’s good to go to someone fresh and new to take it over,” Representative William H. Gray III, a Philadelphia Democrat, said at the time, adding that Hall brought “a spirit of reconciliation to what had sometimes been a bitter battle.” Hall was Indiana’s first Black member in the House and later served as city clerk of Gary.
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