On April 4, 1985, Governor Richard D. Lamm signed House Bill 1201, the historic legislation that created the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday in Colorado.  

The Colorado Holiday legislation was first introduced in 1975 by then State Representative Wellington E. Webb.  He went on to introduce bills two more times in 1976 and 1977, but each bill failed to gain the needed support. 

In 1981, then State Representative Wilma J. Webb, introduced House Bill 1218 to create the holiday.  Again, the bill failed.  Determined to succeed, Mrs. Webb introduced bills in the next three sessions of the State Legislature until finally on March 26, 1984, the 54th General Assembly adopted the legislation.  

Mrs. Webb founded the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission in 1985 to develop a weeklong series of events to celebrate the holiday.  She persuaded the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Mountain States Employers Council, Denver Convention and Visitors Bureau and Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry to come together to create an opportunity for the business community to honor the legacy of Dr. King.  

On January 17, 1986, the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Social Responsibility Awards luncheon was held.  For the 30th annual presentation of the awards on January 16, 2015, the name was changed to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Awards.  The awards luncheon is now sponsored by 14 civic organizations and chambers of commerce.  

Each year, awards are presented to individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations for their exceptional community service endeavors in honor and memory of Dr. King.  In 2007, the Trailblazer Award was added to recognize pioneers in the civil rights movement in Colorado.   

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