martin luther king, jr

martin luther king, jr

Martin Luther King the Civil Rights Movement: Economic Political Power - Ralph Abernathy (1989)

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Ralph David Abernathy, Sr. (March 11, 1926 -- April 17, 1990), was a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, a minister, and a close associate of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Following Kings assassination, Dr. Abernathy took up the leadership of the SCLC Poor Peoples Campaign and led the March on Washington, D.C., that had been planned for May 1968. The King/Abernathy partnership spearheaded successful nonviolent movements in Montgomery, Albany, Birmingham, Mississippi, Washington, Selma, St. Augustine, Chicago and Memphis. Their work helped to secure the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the abolition of Jim Crow Segregation Laws in the southern United States. For 13 turbulent years, from 1955 until Dr. Kings death on April 4, 1968, Dr. King and Dr. Abernathy journeyed together, every step of the way and were inseparable as best friends, sharing the same hotel rooms, jail cells and leisure times with their wives, children, family and friends, all the way to the end. By tearing down the walls of segregation, discrimination and helping to establish new legislation, King and Abernathy were able to instill a new sense of pride, dignity and self-worth in millions of African Americans and people of all colors, all over the world. Their Civil and Human Rights Movement serves as an inspiration and model of Americas principled non violent struggle for freedom, justice and equality. Abernathy endured with equanimity devastating bombings, violent and brutal beatings by southern policemen and State Troopers, 44 arrests, daily death threats against his life and those of his wife and children. He endured the confiscation of his inheritance of family land and his automobile, which his family had to re-purchase at public auction. He endured the continual terrorizing of Dr. King, threats against and the bombing of the King home, the murders of colleagues, their civil rights workers, volunteering college students in the struggle, visiting ministers, a young white housewife who went to Selma and five innocent children in Birmingham. King and Abernathy, undaunted, unrelentingly marched the streets of the South proclaiming, Let my people go. On April 4, 1968, Abernathy was with Martin Luther King in Memphis, Tennessee, when King was assassinated. They shared Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel. The night before at the Mason Temple, Abernathy introduced Dr. King before he made his last public address King said at the beginning of his speech that Ralph Abernathy is the best friend I have in the world. At 6:01 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, 1968, while he was standing on the motels second floor balcony, King was shot. Abernathy accompanied King to St.Josephs Hospital within fifteen minutes of the shot. The doctors performed an emergency surgery, but he never regained consciousness. King was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m. at age 39. Assuming the mantle of the Civil Rights Movement and the Presidency of the SCLC,[1] a grief-stricken Abernathy led a march to support striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. In May 1968, Abernathy led the Poor Peoples Campaign in Washington, DC. The nations poor Blacks, Latinos, Whites and Native Americans came together from the Mississippi Delta, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Indian Reservations of the Northwest, the farmlands of the Southwest, and the inner cities of the North under the leadership of Dr. Abernathy to reside on the Mall of the Washington Memorial in Resurrection City. Hoping to bring attention to the plight of the nations impoverished, they constructed huts in the nations capital, precipitating a showdown with the police. On June 19, Ralph spoke at the Lincoln Memorial in front of tens of thousands of black and white citizens. The Poor Peoples Campaign reflected Abernathys deep conviction that the key to the salvation and redemption of this nation lay in its moral and humane response to the needs o...