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Abernathy, Ralph

b. 1926 - d. 1990

A native of Linden, Alabama, Rev. Ralph David Abernathy was pastor of First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, when he began working with Dr. King, other church ministers and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) officers to organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Following this event, Dr. King and Rev. Abernathy co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) with other African American clergymen and later engaged in numerous civil rights campaigns until Dr. King’s death. By 1962, Rev. Abernathy had moved to Atlanta to serve as senior pastor of West Hunter Street Baptist Church and to be closer to SCLC, which he would later lead. Dr. King honored Rev. Abernathy in his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address calling him “the best friend I have in the world.”

Associated Archive Content : 262 results

Letter from Ralph D. Abernathy and MLK to Howard W. Creecy

Dr. King and Ralph Abernathy inform Reverend Creecy they will be serving a five day jail sentence for breaking an injunction against demonstrating in Birmingham, Alabama. It is for this reason that the Clergymen's Conference will have to be moved to a later date.

Letter from Ralph D. Abernathy to Dr. Carlyle Marney

Ralph David Abernathy writes to Reverend Carlyle to confirm his attendance to a conference held on May 6, 1965.

Letter from Ralph D. Abernathy to Homer A. Jack

Rev. Ralph Abernathy submits a check on behalf of the SCLC to Homer Jack of the Unitarian Universalist Association to be donated to the Jimmie Lee Jackson Memorial Fund. The money will be used to purchase a new home for Jackson's parents and to finance the education for Jackson's sister. Jimmie Lee Jackson was murdered by a Alabama State Trooper while trying to protect his mother and grandfather from a beating during a march melee in Marion, Alabama. Jackson's death initiated the push for a march from Selma to Montgomery.

Letter from Ralph D. Abernathy to John Lewis of SNCC

Ralph D. Abernathy, Vice President and Financial Secretary-Treasurer of the SCLC, sends a check as a gift to John Lewis, Chairman of SNCC. Abernathy also informs Lewis of the SCLC's financial situation, which prevents the organization from making a loan to SNCC.

Letter from Ralph D. Abernathy to SCLC Supporters

Ralph Abernathy, Treasurer of the SCLC, informs SCLC supporters of Dr. King's newly published book, "Strength To Love." He explains that Dr. King has assigned a large portion of the royalties to further the work of the SCLC and urges supporters to order the book.

Letter from Ralph D. Abernathy to the SCLC

Ralph Abernathy, Vice President and Financial Secretary of the SCLC, submits the semi-annual financial report for the period of July 1, 1967 to December 31, 1967 to the SCLC Board of Directors. He also commends his financial staff members for their good work.

Letter from Ralph David Abernathy to the Executive Board of S.C.L.C

In this letter, Ralph Abernathy provides the financial statement for the S.C.L.C.'s September 1, 1963 - August 31, 1964 fiscal year.

Letter from Ram Bagai to MLK

Ram Bagai, President of Films of India, writes Dr. King to support him and his affiliation with the Civil Rights Movement. He also seeks to become a financial donor to assist Dr. King. Bagai discusses a film entitled "Two Eyes, Twelve Hands," which is set to premiere in New York, and offers the proceeds to Dr. King to assist in his endeavors.

Letter from Randolph T. Blackwell to MLK Requesting a Leave of Absence from the S.C.L.C.

Randolph T. Blackwell requests a one-year leave of absence from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to work with Citizens Crusade Against Poverty. Blackwell will assist the S.C.L.C. sister organization with its emerging Southern Rural Development Project.

Letter from Rev. C. J. Bell to Ralph D. Abernathy

Rev. C. J. Bell, the Editor in Chief of the Alexandria News Leader and pastor of the Progressive Baptist Church, wrote this letter to Dr. Ralph David Abernathy expressing his support following Dr. King's assassination. Abernathy was named Dr. King's successor as president of the SCLC and Bell wishes to offer his help if he can be of service.

Letter from Rev. T.Y. Rogers to SCLC Affiliates

Rev. Rogers writes to SCLC affiliates in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi informing them that Dr. King, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, and others will begin serving a 5-day jail sentence in Jefferson County Jail for violating an injunction forbidding them to march on Good Friday or Easter Sunday. He requests that all affiliates meet in Birmingham, Alabama to show support.

Letter from Richard Carlin to Ralph David Abernathy

Carlin offers the use of an original song that he composed after the death of President Kennedy. He finds the lyrics timely for the unfortunate death of Dr. King. He expresses his desire to make a notable contribution to the Fund in memory of Dr. King once he finds a publisher.

Letter from Robert Balkind to Rev. Abernathy about NAACP

This letter, written by the CEO of Hampton Manufacturing Co., references an attached letter for the NAACP.

Letter from Robert Beverly to Ralph David Abernathy

Robert Beverly of the City Employees Union Local 237 writes to Dr. Abernathy informing him of the enclosed May edition of the union's newspaper.

Letter from Robert Friedman to Dora McDonald

Robert Friedman, a representative of "The Forensic Quarterly," asks Dora McDonald to find out if another SCLC staff member can write an article about compulsory service systems for his publication.

Letter from Robert Hatch to Dora McDonald

Robert Hatch, a staff associate with the National Education Association, asks Miss McDonald to inform Dr. King of an invitation to speak at the organization's banquet in New York City. Hatch mentions that he is not only a former Morehouse classmate of Dr. King's, but also lived in Montgomery, Alabama at the same time as Dr. King and Ralph Abernathy.

Letter from Ruth W. Carr to SCLC

Ruth W. Carr gives a donation of $350.00 on behalf of her late husband, Clarence Carr. Mrs. Carr explains that it was her husband wish before death to contribute to the work of the SCLC.

Letter from Seventh Graders to Rev. Ralph Abernathy

Five seventh grade boys wrote to Reverend Abernathy asking for information about the SCLC and the life of Dr. King.

Letter from Stephen Sargent to Ralph David Abernathy

Stephen Sargent, a young student, writes to Rev. Ralph Abernathy on the day of Dr. King's funeral service. Stephen's letter mentions his enclosure of a check to the SCLC to assist in the cause for freedom.

Letter from Wallace Terry to MLK

The Washington Post anticipates Dr. King's presence as their speaker for the Public Lecture Series "One Hundred Years of Freedom." However, the coordinator of the event, Wallace Terry, understands that Dr. King's imprisonment in the Birmingham jail might prevent Dr. King from appearing. Terry suggests that the Reverends Fred Shuttlesworth, Ralph Abernathy or Wyatt Walker could serve as a substitute. Lastly, Terry pledges to collect an offering for the SCLC.

Letter from William A. Rutherford to Richard M. Austin

William A. Rutherford, Executive Director of the SCLC, requests that Rev. Austin join a SCLC support committee. The support committee will offer assistance to the SCLC's upcoming campaign in Washington, D.C.

Letter from William H. Chester to MLK

William H. Chester writes Dr. King enclosing a donation to the SCLC from Mary Louise Hooper, chairman of the Northern California Committee on African Affairs, on behalf of the San Francisco Church-Labor Conference. The organization conducted a Human Rights Day parade that was broadcast in Africa. Mr. Chester further informs Dr. King that Mrs. Hooper encourages the SCLC to "keep moving forward until victory is achieved."

Letter from William H. Chester to Rev. A. D. King

William Chester, Regional Director of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, writes Rev. A. D. King as a follow-up to their earlier telephone conversation regarding the transports unions supporting the Negro community in Alabama. Chester provides suggestions for how the SCLC should try to secure the participation of the large unions, such as the Teamsters and the National Maritime Union. Chester also addresses a copy of the letter to Dr. King, Rev. Abernathy and Rev. Shuttlesworth.

Letter from William M. Gray to Ralph Abernathy

William Gray offers his prayers and support as Rev. Abernathy takes over command of the SCLC following Dr. King's death.

Letter from William S. Stein to MLK

William Stein informs Dr. King that the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church will be contributing to SCLC.

Letter to A.C. Skinner from Rev. Abernathy

Rev. Abernathy writes to inform Mr. Skinner of the crucial financial situation the SCLC is facing due to decreased contributor support after the "Black Power cry." He is asking the International Union of Mine Mill and Smelter Workers for a generous monetary contribution within the coming weeks.

Letter to Dr. Abernathy from Carl Andrew Moore

Carl Andrew Moore, from the University of the Pacific, in Stockton, California, expresses his support of Rev. Ralph Abernathy's leadership during these trying times.

Letter to Dr. Abernathy from Rev. Parker

Rev. Ralph Abernathy, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, received this correspondence following the assassination of Dr. King. In this letter, Rev. Richard Parker of the St. Cross Episcopal Church in California, highlighted his interest in a television interview of Mrs. King, shown on the day of Dr. King's funeral.

Letter to Dr. Abernathy Regarding MLK Memorial Service

Dr. Abernathy receives this letter from an anonymous sender suggesting that the SCLC plan a memorial service in commemoration of Dr. King on Emancipation Day. The writer provides a list of music and poems that would be appropriate for the occasion.

Letter to Dr. Ralph Abernathy from Frank Binswanger

Frank G. Binswanger of the Philadelphia Civic Center, assures a recommitment to the cause for which Dr. King served and extends condolences to Dr. Abernathy regarding the loss of Dr. King.

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