Friday, February 18, 2011
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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 King's assassination, Dr. Abernathy took up the leadership of the SCLC Poor People's Campaign and led the March on Washington, D.C. that had been planned for May 1968.
On December 2, 1955, in response to the arrest of his NAACP co-worker, Rosa Parks, Abernathy and his dearest friend, Dr. Martin Luther King, organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott and co-founded the American Civil Rights Movement. The Montgomery Improvement Association led the successful 381 days transit boycott challenging “Jim Crow” Segregation laws, and ended Alabama’s bus segregation.
While actively involved in the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, he completed his Master’s Degree in Sociology at Atlanta University. His master’s thesis, “The Natural History of A Social Movement: The Montgomery Improvement Association,” was published by Carlson Publishing in David Garrow’s book entitled, “The Walking City – The Montgomery Bus Boycott, 1955-1956.”