During the 1968 Civil Rights Movement, then nine year old Ralph D. Abernathy III, without his parent's knowledge, stood alongside men and women, who were caught up in the push for equality. Arrested as part of a "mule train" march to a Martin Luther King Jr. rally, he was held in a warehouse alongside 250 other marchers. Abernathy will be the keynote speaker at the ASU Department of History and Political Science Black History Month lecture Friday, Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. in Simmons Hall, Room 101.
A former Georgia state senator and preacher, he is known for community involvement and championing the causes of the underprivileged. His father is Ralph David Abernathy Sr., a prominent leader in the civil rights movement and one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s right-hand men.
Abernathy began his political career by serving four years in the State House of Representatives. Elected to the State Senate in 1992, he served as vice-chairman of the Senate Retirement Committee and on the Rules and Appropriations Committees. He was vice-chairman of the Insurance and Labor Committee, chairman of the Interstate Cooperation Committee and a member of the Legislative Black Caucus.
Since his election to the Senate, Abernathy has led efforts to change the state flag to the pre-1956 banner and has sponsored the Firearms Protection for Minors Act to protect children by requiring gun owners to keep their weapons out of reach of children.
Abernathy successfully sponsored landmark legislation in the 1994 General Assembly which requires that the classification of "multiracial" be included on all school, employment and state agency forms requiring racial data in the State of Georgia.
Abernathy was ordained in 2001 at the historic West Hunter Street Baptist Church where his legendary father, Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, Sr., pastored for thirty years. He attended seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia and earned a certificate in theology.
The lecture is open to the public. For more information contact the ASU Department of History and Political Science at (229) 430- 4870.