This Day in Black History: March 11, 1926

Civil rights icon Ralph David Abernathy was born.

Posted: 03/11/2013 07:00 AM EDT

On March 11, 1926, minister and civil rights leader Ralph David Abernathy was born in Marengo County, Alabama.

Abernathy was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1948, and in 1951 he led First Baptist Church in Montgomery. A prominent figure of the civil rights movement, he was a close ally of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., joining forces with King to organize the iconic Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 and appearing  alongside him at many other demonstrations. Along with King, Abernathy co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the most prominent civil rights group of the era. He led the SCLC's Poor People's Campaign after King's assassination in 1968.

On April 17, 1990, Abernathy passed away in Atlanta from complications resulting from blood clots in his heart and lungs. He was 64.

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 (Photo: Reg Lancaster/Express/Getty Images)

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