American University first celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 20, 1986. AU cancelled classes and gave its employees the day off. The AU Black Coalition called for AU’s celebration of the King Holiday to “capture the essence of the man and the movement that he represented.” In 1987 and 1988, AU held “State of the Dream” conferences which looked at what progress has been made in civil rights so far and what remains to be done. The speakers focused on the areas of education, skills, housing and economic mobility. Starting in 1989, AU held an annual commemoration ceremony with speakers and music. AU inaugurated its MLK Day of Service in 2003. AU’s current celebration includes a variety of activities including lectures, musical tributes, film screenings and a day of community service.