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Under the Spotlight: Ralph David Abernathy Sr.

Our Spot light shines on Ralph David Abernathy Sr, born in March 11, 1926 on his family 500-acre farm in Linden, Alabama. His parents, William L. and Louivery Valentine Abernathy had 12 children together making little Ralph number 10. Abernathy's father was the first African-American to vote in Marengo County, Alabama, and the first to serve on a grand jury there. Ralph Abernathy was an American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was ordained in the Baptist tradition in 1948, was also a leader of the civil rights movement and was a close friend and mentor of Martin Luther King Jr. I can see why these two men became friends because they have similarities both being leaders in the civil rights movement and behind the pulpit. It appears leadership runs in their blood during a time where leadership was needed for the people. Ralph Abernathy was also enlisted in the United States Army during the World War ll advancing in rank becoming platoon sergeant before being discharged. He attended Alabama State University using the benefits from the G.I. Bill, which he earned with his service. During this time at college, he became an initiated brother of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity,first black man on radio in Montgomery, Alabama and earning an Master of Arts degree in sociology with high honors in 1951 from Atlanta University. His contribution to the civil rights movement should go as noticed for help collaborating with Dr. King to create the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), which organized the Montgomery bus boycott. This Movement called for black citizens of Montgomery to stay off the buses. The boycott attracted national attention, and a federal court case that ended on December 17, 1956, when the U.S. Supreme Court, in Browder v. Gayle, upheld an earlier District Court decision that the bus segregation was unconstitutional. During his lifetime Abernathy was honored with more than 300 awards and citations, including five honorary doctoral degrees, an Interstate 20 Ralph David Abernathy Freeway, Abernathy Road, and Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard of Atlanta were named in his honor. Ralph Abernathy died at Emory Crawford Long Memorial Hospital in Atlanta,GA on April 17, 1990.

Sharing Ralph David Abernathy Sr. story about who he was as a leader, man of faith and friend to Dr. King is important because he had a part to play for civil rights for all people in the country.



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