Why Were Alabama Inauguration Celebrations Held on MLK Day?


Alabama’s Inauguration left many in Montgomery questioning why the ceremony was held on the same day as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

WAKA investigated and found that according to the Alabama Constitution, the term for the governor and other constitutional officers begins on the first Monday after the second Tuesday in January. This year, that date, January 16, happened to fall on the federal holiday honoring Dr. King.

But as visitors poured into Montgomery to celebrate MLK Day, many were surprised to see their paths to Dexter Avenue blocked as downtown Montgomery was set to honor Gov. Ivey and other leaders with a ceremony in front of the Alabama Capitol and a parade on Dexter Avenue.

This left some residents and travelers feeling that a large-scale event held on a day set aside to honor Dr. King impedes upon the city’s impact on the civil rights movement, especially with the role Montgomery played in the Civil Rights Movement.

We spoke to the Governor’s office which says the events falling on the same date is simply a coincidence. Gov. Ivey recognized Dr. King in her Inauguration speech, thanking him and others for their contributions to Alabama.

The next Inauguration, in 2027, will also fall on Dr. King’s Holiday.


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