A Bief Look at Ralph David Abernathy

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Born on March 29, 1962, in Linden, Alabama, just 90 miles outside of Montgomery, Ralph David Abernathy Sr. was the tenth of twelfth offspring born to William and Louivery Abernathy. His family was more fortunate than most due to the fact they owned a 500 acre farm, which provided a certain measure of independence. Abernathy exhibited evidence of inheriting his father’s spiritual and leadership skills by joining the church at the age of 7 and serving in the army during World War II at the age of 18, where he quickly earned the rank of sergeant. After serving in the war, Abernathy attended Alabama state college, where his political awareness began to flourish. He was elected as president of his student council and led protests to secure suitable student living conditions and quality food in the dormitories. He then graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1950 and also achieved religious training by obtaining a masters degree in sociology from Atlanta University. Remaining committed to church and education, Abernathy became pastor of the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where he met his wife Juanita Odessa Jones and he became Dean of Men at Alabama State University at the young age of 26. In 1952, Martin Luther King Jr. moved to Montgomery to become minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where he met Abernathy. Abernathy served as King’s mentor in the city’s black ministerial community where the two formed an incredible bond. In December
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