Ralph David Abernathy
Ralph David Abernathy Sr. (March 11, 1926 – April 17, 1990) was a civil rights activist and Baptist minister. As a leader of the civil rights movement, he was a close friend and mentor of Martin Luther King Jr. He collaborated with King to create the Montgomery Improvement Association which led to the Montgomery bus boycott. He also co-founded and was an executive board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He became president of the SCLC following the assassination of King in 1968, where he led the Poor People's Campaign in Washington, D.C. among other marches and demonstrations for disenfranchised Americans.
“Abernathy infused his audiences with new life and ardor. The people loved and respected him as a symbol of courage and strength,” King wrote in Stride Toward Freedom (73–74).