Known for movies

Short Info

DiedApril 17, 1990, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
SpouseJuanita Abernathy
FactPresident of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1968-1977).

Ralph Abernathy was born in Linden, Alabama, on March 11, 1926. He was the second of three children born to Louis and Louise Abernathy. His father was a farmer and his mother was a domestic worker. Abernathy’s early education was in the local schools of Marengo County. He excelled in his studies and was active in sports and other extracurricular activities. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at Alabama State University.

Abernathy’s college career was interrupted by World War II. He served in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946. Upon his return to Alabama State, he resumed his studies and became active in the campus chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He also became friends with Martin Luther King, Jr., who was also a student at the university.

After graduating from college in 1950, Abernathy became a minister. He served as pastor of several churches in Alabama and Georgia. In 1955, he and King became co-pastors of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

Abernathy was an active participant in the civil rights movement. He was arrested numerous times for his participation in protests and boycotts. In 1961, he helped organize the Freedom Rides, which were designed to challenge segregation in interstate travel. He also served as one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

In 1964, Abernathy was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), a position he held until 1967. He continued to work closely with King during this time. In 1968, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Abernathy took over as leader of the SCLC and helped to organize King’s funeral.

In 1969, Abernathy ran for Congress but was unsuccessful. He continued to work for civil rights and economic justice throughout his life. He died in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 17, 1990.

General Info

Full NameRalph Abernathy
DiedApril 17, 1990, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
ProfessionMinister, Activist
EducationAlabama State University, Clark Atlanta University


SpouseJuanita Abernathy
ChildrenRalph David Abernathy III, Donzaleigh Abernathy, Juandalynn R. Abernathy, Kwame Luthuli Abernathy, Ralph David Abernathy Jr.
ParentsLouivery Bell Abernathy, W. L. Abernathy

Social profile links


1Christians should be ready for a change because Jesus was the greatest changer in history.
2[about President Richard Nixon] He told us he was going to take crime out of the streets. He did. He took it into the damn White House.


1Grandfather of Ralph David Abernathy IV.
2Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 5-6. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
3Father of Donzaleigh Abernathy, and Ralph Abernathy III.
4President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1968-1977).




11-22-63: The Day the Nation Cried1989TV Movie documentaryHimself (as Rev. Ralph Abernathy)
Booknotes1989TV SeriesHimself
Eyes on the Prize1987TV Series documentaryHimself
In Remembrance of Martin1986DocumentaryHimself
I Am Somebody1970Short documentaryHimself
Panorama1969TV Series documentaryHimself - Leader, Poor Peoples' March

Archive Footage

The Trials of Muhammad Ali2013DocumentaryHimself
Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed2004DocumentaryHimself
Our Friend, Martin1999VideoHimself - consoles Coretta King (uncredited)
Mahalia Jackson: The Power and the Glory1997Himself
The Speeches of Malcolm X1997Video documentaryHimself - Leads March Into Montgomery, at Signing of Voting Rights Act
George Wallace1997TV MovieHimself - Behind King (uncredited)
4 Little Girls1997DocumentaryHimself - with Martin Luther King (uncredited)
The Speeches of Robert F. Kennedy1995VideoHimself - Marches with King
Malcolm X1992Himself - Behind King and Malcolm (uncredited)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

Write A Comment

Pin It