Juneteenth vs MLK Day: Difference and Comparison

A federal holiday in the United States is a date in the calendar that is recognized as a national holiday by the federal government in authority.


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Institutions like schools, business firms and banks are generally closed during a federal holiday. Both Juneteenth Day and MLK Day are declared as federal holidays in the US.

Key Takeaways

  1. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, while MLK Day celebrates the life and achievements of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
  2. Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19th every year, while MLK Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January.
  3. Juneteenth has only recently gained widespread recognition as a federal holiday, while MLK Day has been a federal holiday since 1986.

Juneteenth vs MLK Day

Juneteenth is a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday in the United States that honours the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who advocated for racial equality and nonviolent resistance in the 1950s and 1960s.

Juneteenth vs Mlk Day

Juneteenth Day is a remarkable day that is celebrated on June 19th. Juneteenth got its name from merging “June” and “Nineteenth”.

This special day honours and celebrates the abolishment of African American slavery in the United States of America by a troop of soldiers led by the Major General.

On the other hand, Mlk day is celebrated on 17th January. It lies near the birth date of Martin Luther King Jr, which is on January 15th.

This day recognizes the sacrifices and dedication of Sir Martin Luther King Jr who struggled very hard to take the Civil Rights Movement forward and fought for the Rights of the black people.

Comparison Table

Parameters of
SignificanceIt celebrates the freedom of the African Americans who were enslaved in the US. It honors the abolishment of slavery in the US.
It celebrates the achievement and struggles of Martin Luther King Jr who gave strength to the Civil Rights Movement.
Date of CelebrationJuneteenth day is celebrated on the 19th  of the June month.
Mlk day is celebrated on the 17th of the January month.
Also Called
Jubilee Day, Black Independence Day, Freedom
Day and the Black Independence Day
Martin Luther King Jr day, King day, Reverend Day and the Mlk day
How Did They Get Their Names?
Juneteenth day got it’s name from the mixing of “June” and “Nineteenth”.Mlk day stands for Martin Luther King Jr in honor of the latter.
Places Celebrated inIt is celebrated in Texas, Oregon, Virginia, New York, Massachusetts and Washington.
It is celebrated in the US, Japan, Hiroshima and other countries like Toronto and Ontario.

What is Juneteenth Day?

Juneteenth Day is a federal holiday that is celebrated all over the United States of America. It celebrates the victory of the African Americans who were enslaved for years. This day recognizes the abolishment and death of slavery.

Thus remarkable day has been celebrated every year on 19th June since the year 1865 in all parts of the United States of America. It is often celebrated on the third Saturday of the month of June.

Mitch Kachun, a historian, considered Juneteenth day as an event to end slavery using three goals: “to celebrate, to educate and to agitate’’.

The initial celebrations included fishing, baseball games and rodeos. The celebrations also witness people enjoying large meals with their friends and families, dressed in their best attire.

There are speeches delivered about the African American culture and teachings about the African American heritage during this day in order to recognize the significance of their culture and beliefs.

Union Army General Gordon Granger established Juneteenth day. The latter struggled hard along with his Union Army soldiers to establish the rights of the African Americans and abolish the slavery system they were suffering through.

juneteenth day

What is MLK Day?

MLK day is celebrated to honour the achievements of Sir Martin Luther King Jr. The latter worked very hard to establish equality among people of different skin colors or races.

He gave strength and immunity to the Civil Rights Movement and took it forward.

He began non-violent activism against racial discrimination in federal law and state law.

MLK day is celebrated on January 17th, just two days after Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, on the 15th day of January. It is celebrated each year on the third Monday of January.

The federal holiday has been assigned different names in different countries:

  • Alabama – Martin Luther King’s Birthday
  • Arizona – Civil Rights Day
  • Virginia – Lee-Jackson-King Day
  • Idaho – Idaho Human Rights Day
  • New Hampshire – Civil Rights Day or Martin Luther King Jr Day

The National Martin Luther Day of Service was first conducted by Harris Wofford, former US senator, and Atlanta congressman John Lewis who coordinated with Harris.

National Day of Service is the only official national day celebrated on September 11th, other than the National Martin Luther Day of Service.

mlk day

Main Differences Between Juneteenth and MLK Day

  1. Juneteenth Day is celebrated to recognize the death of slavery and the freedom of African Americans, whereas Mlk Day celebrates the dedication of Martin Luther in taking the Civil Rights Movement forward.
  2. Juneteenth Day is celebrated on the 19th of June, and MLK Day is celebrated on January 17th.
  3. Juneteenth Day is an event in honour of Union Army General Gordon Granger, while on the other hand, MLK Day is celebrated to honour Sir Martin Luther King Jr.
  4. Juneteenth Day is celebrated only in six countries of the United States, while MLK Day is celebrated in the US, Japan, and Canada.
  5. Juneteenth Day is celebrated on a fixed date, while the dates of the MLK Day event vary every year.
Difference Between Juneteenth and Mlk Day
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