Daughter of civil rights movement: Donzaleigh Abernathy

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Donzaleigh Abernathy Donzaleigh Abernathy, daughter of influential 1960s civil rights leader Dr. Ralph David Abernathy discusses racial equality in the U.S.

Donzaleigh Abernathy grew up on the front lines of the civil rights marches and boycotts that forever changed American history. Her father was the late Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, a 1960s influential civil rights activist and the best friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The two men were so close that Donzaleigh and her siblings grew up calling King “Uncle Martin”.

“He was definitely sitting at our kitchen table,” said Abernathy. “Uncle Martin used to eat dinner at least four nights a week at my mother’s house.”

Daughter of Civil Rights movement: Donzaleigh Abernathy

Daughter of Civil Rights movement: Donzaleigh Abernathy

Donzaleigh Abernathy grew up on the front lines of the civil rights marches and boycotts that forever changed American history. Her father was the late Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, a 1960s influential civil rights activist and the best friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

And it was Dr. Abernathy who introduced King before his final public speech, the night before his assassination.

Both men were co-founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a civil rights organization which Abernathy continued after King’s death.

“After Uncle Martin died, I think my mother wanted my dad to stop,” Abernathy remembers. “She was always afraid that they were going to kill him.”

As a young girl, Abernathy participated in all of the major 1960’s Civil Rights Marches and witnessed the integral decisions and challenges that would ultimately create American history.

“My dad used to say, ‘If we die than our blood will cry out from the earth for freedom’,” said Abernathy. “We had endured 244 years of slavery, we had endured 100 years of Jim Crow segregation, it was time, it was time and so we had to fight.”

Fifty years later, the issue of racial equality, both in the United States and abroad, still lingers…proving the fight for civil rights seems more crucial now than ever.

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