The Rev. Dr. Ralph David Abernathy III, an evangelist, Civil Rights leader, motivational speaker and a son of the late Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy Sr. His father, Abernathy Sr., was the partner of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr during the Civil Rights movement who assumed the leadership role of The Southern Christian Leadership Conference after the assassination of King in 1968. The younger Abernathy visited Cleveland, Oh. on Sunday to stomp for the reelection of President Obama
The Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy Sr. (left) and The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at a press conference during the height of the Civil Rights Movement
|JACK E. CANTRELL, MEMPHIS PRESS-SCIMITAR: COURTESY MISSISSIPPI VALLEY COLLECTION / UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS |
By Marc R. Churchill and Kathy Wray Coleman, Cleveland Urban News.Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Online Blog, Ohio’s Most Read Online Black Newspaper (www.clevelandurbannews.com)
CLEVELAND, Ohio-The Rev. Dr. Ralph David Abernathy III, whose famed father, the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy Sr., marched along side of the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr during the Civil Rights Movement and led The Southern Christian Leadership Conference after King was assassinated, visited Cleveland, OH on Sunday to stomp for President Obama.
“My father and Uncle Martin [King] were like twins, they even dressed alike sometimes, and Uncle Martin died in his arms.” said Abernathy, 53, an evangelist and motivational speaker who grew up in Montgomery, AL. and served a decade in the Georgia State Legislature as an Atlanta senator. “We have got to vote in this election so that President Obama can continue to fight for the legacy of equal opportunity and Civil Rights that they left.”
Abernathy is among a host of famous Blacks that toured Cleveland last week and more recently this year to push early voting and in support of the reelection of President Obama, the first Black president of the United States of America.
He spoke at a rally at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church Sunday night in Cleveland after appearing as a guest on ‘The Art McKoy University Show, ’ which airs weekly from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on W.E.R.E. AM radio.
Other Blacks recently in Cleveland to get out the vote include singers John Legend, Stevie Wonder, and Yolanda Adams, Congressional Black Caucus members, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Obama for America Campaign Senior Adviser Broderick Johnson, Actress Vivica Fox, and Valerie Jarrett, one of three senior advisers to the president and the assistant to the president for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs.
Ohio remains pivotal with Obama and Mitt Romney neck and neck, though many believe that Obama will pull off a win tomorrow night.
"He will win," said Abernathy of Obama.
Abernathy Sr died in 1990. His son believes that too often Blacks get 'Romnesia' and forget what other Blacks fought for, and died for, including the right vote.
“Some people have ‘Romnesia’ and have forgotten what we have fought for all these years.” said Abernathy.
Jailed at a protest in Montgomery at 9 years old, Abernathy's is a fighter like his father. His older brother was named after his father too, but died three days after birth. The fourth of five children, including his deceased brother, the articulate Abernathy told Cleveland Urban News.Com that the reason he calls King, 'Uncke Martin' is because the Abernathy and King families were just that close, and that his father and King were, “Civil Rights twins."
He was also nine years old when King was assassinated in 1968 on a hotel balcony in Tennessee, and when his father later assumed the leadership role of The Southern Christian Leadership Conference . the Civil Rights organization that they founded that was the thrust of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
He said that he often had trouble sleeping as a kid because their home in Montgomery had been bombed and he feared it would happen again.
"For years, I was afraid to go to sleep at night when I was a child because I feared that our house would get bombed," said Abernathy.
An undergraduate of the prestigious Morehouse College in Atlanta the younger Abernathy also holds master’s and doctorate degrees in divinity, and is married with four children, including a son, Ralph Abernathy IV, a star football player at the University of Cincinnati.
He said that his father and his mother Juanita Abernathy are partly responsible for his success and that while Black people have not been fully compensated for the constitutional and statutory wrongs that they have endured as a once enslaved people, times have changed for the Black community.
Barack Obama, he says, is a part of that systemic change in action and is a change agent for the betterment of Black people in particular and the American people in general.
“I think we’re much better off," said Abernathy. “In as much as things seem to change, they still remain the same. There is a transitional period of the Black community and a lack of true economic power."
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