Tay McArthur, Staff ’63-’86

Tay McArthur, Staff 1963-86

Tay McArthur taught Government and History, spearheaded the adoption of MLK, Jr. Day as a California holiday, four years before King’s birthday was enacted as a holiday throughout the US.

We owe our nation’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday to a small group of Tech students from the class of 1981. They called themselves the Apollos after the Apollo 13 space mission. Led by their teacher, Tay McArthur, they began lobbying Sacramento lawmakers and California declared MLK’s birthday a holiday before the federal government did. In 1983, the federal government followed suit and Tech’s MLK committee continued to lobby states that hadn’t yet declared it a holiday!

In 1983, 12 seniors in Tay McArthur’s Honors/AP American Government Class decided to seek landmark status for Oakland Technical High School. It was eventually designated as a landmark in 1985 by the Oakland City council.