Cong. Lewis, Mayor Reed, Senator Isakson Statements on Passing of Rev. Abernathy III

Ralph David Abernathy III, who was the son of a civil rights icon and a former state senator, died on Thursday two days before his 57th birthday. Abernathy was diagnosed with cancer but I can’t seem to find a cause of death.

In prepared statements, Congressman John Lewis and Mayor Kasim Reed honored Abernathy.

Lewis said:

“He was born into the struggle for civil rights and social justice, and as a child, walked part of the distance from Selma-to-Montgomery by his mother’s side.  He was even arrested at the age of nine, attempting to march to Washington, DC to join the Poor People’s Campaign.  I was glad that he lived to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Selma march last year and that I was able to spend a little time with him while we were both in Alabama.”

Reed said:

“He was known for his personal motto, ‘if the elevator to success is broken, take the stairs.’ His work ethic and his commitment to the ideals of his father meant he could not sit idly by when confronted with injustice, and he worked tirelessly throughout his career to protect children and strengthen families.”

Senator Johnny Isakson offered his condolences to the Abernathy family via Twitter.

The full statements from Lewis and Reed are below.

Mayor Kasim Reed Statement on the Passing of Ralph David Abernathy III

ATLANTA – “I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ralph David Abernathy III.

Mr. Abernathy’s father, Ralph David Abernathy, Jr., was one of Atlanta’s most esteemed and impactful residents. His work alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others in the fight for civil rights and equality improved life in Atlanta and the United States of America immeasurably. Ralph David Abernathy III carried on that legacy by serving the residents of Atlanta in the Georgia State Senate.

He was known for his personal motto, ‘if the elevator to success is broken, take the stairs.’ His work ethic and his commitment to the ideals of his father meant he could not sit idly by when confronted with injustice, and he worked tirelessly throughout his career to protect children and strengthen families.

On behalf of all the residents of the City of Atlanta, I extend my deepest condolences to the Abernathy family.”

Rep. John Lewis on the Passing of the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy III

“I was deeply saddened to learn that Rev. Ralph David Abernathy III died today, just two days short of his 57th birthday. I have known him ever since he was a child and watched him grow up to become a public servant, a leader and an advocate for the preservation of his father’s legacy.

“He was born into the struggle for civil rights and social justice, and as a child, walked part of the distance from Selma-to-Montgomery by his mother’s side. He was even arrested at the age of nine, attempting to march to Washington, DC to join the Poor People’s Campaign. I was glad that he lived to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Selma march last year and that I was able to spend a little time with him while we were both in Alabama.

“Ralph loved his family and worked tirelessly in the effort to make the old West Hunter Street Baptist Church, formerly located on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue–the church his father pastored for many years–a historic site. He honored his father’s accomplishments and contributions to the civil rights struggle and passionately strived to ensure that they would never be forgotten.

“Ralph will be deeply missed by all of us who have known his family for many years. My heart goes out to his mother Juanita, brother Kwame and sister Donzaleigh, his wife Annette, his children and other family members. They are all in my thoughts and prayers. May God bless them to find comfort and peace in this dark hour.”

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