Partners to History by Donzaleigh Abernathy
Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and the Civil Rights Movement

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Ralph David Abernathy and Martin Luther King Jr. were inseparable and together helped to establish what would become the modern American Civil Rights Movement. They preached, marched, and were frequently jailed together. Donzaleigh Abernathy, Ralph’s youngest daughter, has written Partners to History as a testament to the courage, strength, and endurance of these men who stirred a nation with their moral fortitude. She also pays tribute to the thousands of unsung heroes—the other partners to this history—who were foot soldiers in the endless struggle for freedom, justice, and equality. This document captures in words and pictures how the dream of two visionaries changed the course of American history and inspired the world.

Partners to History is a unique look at a troubling time, and its usage of dramatic—and personal—photographs, combined with the voices of King and Abernathy, seamlessly conveys the fears, frustrations, and pain of the long days and nights spent planning the many crusades. Donzaleigh Abernathy’s recollections provide personal insight from someone who lived through the tumult and witnessed firsthand the relationship of these lifelong friends. “People didn’t know Daddy and Uncle Martin,” she writes. “They know the legends. They don’t know the fathers, the husbands, the men, the human beings. I feel obliged to tell the beautiful stories of these beautiful men I lived with and loved.”

Chronicling the crucial events of the movement, from the early strategy sessions in the homes of integrationists and the Montgomery Bus Boycott to Birmingham, the Freedom Riders, and the March on Washington, the author provides a unique insider’s perspective. With heart-wrenching precision, she lays bare the horrifying deaths of four little girls in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and follows the search for three murdered civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi. She goes behind the scenes to the intimate moments and reveals the determination of two families caught up in the fight for equal rights.

King and Abernathy believed in a cause and laid their lives on the line time and time again, knowing deep in their hearts that they were working not only for their people, but for the good of all humankind. When, on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Ralph David Abernathy vowed to persevere and continue their dream, knowing that people could not be free until the walls came tumbling down.

Inspirational and beautifully illustrated, Partners to History reveals the remarkable relationship between two great leaders and serves as a reminder and tribute to this tumultuous era.

About Donzaleigh Abernathy

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Published October 14, 2003 by Crown. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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In this large-format book, the daughter of prominent civil rights leader Ralph David Abernathy gives an insider's view of the civil rights movement, juxtaposing family remembrances with history and speeches by her father and his dear friend and close collabortor, Martin Luther King Jr.

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