Rev. Ralph Abernathy, born in Linden, AL, served as the pastor of First Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL. He was one of the founding members of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He served the SCLC as treasurer-secretary during Dr. Martin Luther King's leadership and as president after Dr. King's death in 1968. Rev. Abernathy moved to Atlanta in 1961 and became the pastor of the Hunter Street Baptist Church, where he remained until his death. Rev. Abernathy also served as vice-president of the American Freedom Coalition. His autobiography, And the Walls Came Tumbling Down, was published in 1989.
Rev. Ralph Abernathy accompanied Dr. Martin Luther King during all of the MIA and SCLC civil rights campaigns. He was a key leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped to lead the SCLC in Albany, GA, Birmingham, AL, Philadelphia, MS, Washington, DC, and Selma, AL, among other places. Abernathy was with Dr. King in Memphis the night that Dr. King was assassinated. He took over leadership of SCLC after Dr. King died and his first major action in that capacity was directing the Poor People's Campaign in 1968.
Information for this biography was gathered from the following sources: