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Rev. Ralph David Abernathy
Rev. Ralph David Abernathy
And the Walls Came Tumbling Down
ISBN: 0060161922
And the Walls Came Tumbling Down
Abernathy chronicles his personal experience in the civil rights movement in his autobiography, “And the Walls Came Tumbling Down,” published by HarperCollins. In the book, Mr. Abernathy gives an insider account of the Civil Rights movement detailing the organization of the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 and the 1965 March in Selma. Personally criticized for his account of the personal life of his close friend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Abernathy takes the opportunity to explain his motives and his view of the proper accounting of Dr. King and civil rights history. He discusses his controversial endorsement of Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential elections and his subsequent frustrating efforts to communicate with the administration. He also comments on the status of current black leadership in America.
And the Walls Came Tumbling Down
Program Air Date: October 29, 1989

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Reverend Ralph David Abernathy, author of the book, "And the Walls Came Tumbling Down," when did you first think that you wanted to write your autobiography?
RALPH DAVID ABERNATHY, AUTHOR, "AND THE WALLS CAME TUMBLING DOWN": Oh, about four or five years ago. I decided that I would write my autobiography and I have been working on it ever since then. Not straight out but for given periods, I would write and I would leave it, you know, and go back to it, and come back to it, and so I wanted to write this book.
LAMB: Are you happy about it?
ABERNATHY: Yes, I am very, very happy about it. I am so pleased that it is a good looking book and it is a good book and it is more than 600 pages of my life story. I am the son of a farmer and I grew up in Linden, Alabama -- Marengo County, the heart of the black belt. My grandfather and my grandmother were born slaves and I just wanted to tell my story and to show the youth of America, the children of America, that you may be locked in poverty and you may have a difficult time surviving but you can be, what my dear friend, Martin Luther King, often quoted: "If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill, be a scrub in the valley but be the best little scrub by the side of the a bush if you can't be a tree." So you can be something and somebody if you do not lose your sense of worth and dignity and somebody-ness.
LAMB: I want to start with the last part of the book first, the epilogue. In there you describe that in 1980 you supported Ronald Reagan for the presidency. Why did you do that?
ABERNATHY: Well, I did it for the simple reason first. I did not believe President Carter could lead the nation forward at that particular juncture. He is a good man but I just did not feel that you could run the country as he had ran the state of Georgia and he did not have, around him, the staff, that was able to do that. Secondly, I supported Ronald Reagan because he was talking about jobs and income and I went on with that side of my political life and thirdly, I believe that young black people should participate in both parties. The Republican Party has too long ignored us and the Democratic Party has taken us for granted and so since all of my colleagues and the latter in various places across the country were supporting the Democratic Party, I felt that I should support Ronald Reagan.

And so I understood very, very clearly that it is a policy in politics, according to President Gerald Ford, that you reward your friends but you punish your enemies, and so I thought that I would launch a job program and get help from Mr. Reagan and from the private sector as well as the public sector. The Republicans have most of the money in the country and I thought that I would get that type of help but he'd soon forgotten what I had sought to do to him, or I cannot get through. And one distinguished journalist just happened to have been connected with my congregation and I had to do her grandmother's funeral and she told me, "Dr. Abernathy, what you really should do to get to Mr. Reagan is get to Mrs. Reagan and maybe like that you can get through." But Ed Meese and the people surrounded him. I just felt that they never let my calls through and never gave me ample time to explain fully the meaning of the Foundation of Economic Enterprises Development.
LAMB: Let's go back. I did not mean to interrupt, but I want to go back so that the audience understands the context. You were asked to come and do a public, hold up the hands and endorse President Reagan back during the 1980 campaign, and you did that. Do remember the city in which you did that?
ABERNATHY: Yes, in Detroit, Michigan.
LAMB: And you flew up there to do it and when you got there you had a meeting with the president. And then you walked out and found some of your other friends were there with you?
ABERNATHY: Yes, I found that other persons, including Hosea Williams, former staff member of mine, at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, had come to join me in endorsing Mr. Reagan. But I had a private conference with Mr. Reagan because I wanted to get the guarantee from him that he wanted me to endorse him and that he would be accessible to me, because I didn't want to just be endorsing a man that I was unable to talk to.
LAMB: After you endorsed him, the election is over, you tried to reach President Reagan, what happened?
ABERNATHY: Well, I could not get any farther than Ed Meese. I went out to Palm Spring to see President Gerald Ford and he was most sympathetic, most kind and he called the White House while I was there and he...
LAMB: This was in 1981, right in the first year?
ABERNATHY: Yes, and he said, "Well, hey Meese, I want you to arrange a meeting with the president and I want to - Ralph Abernathy has suffered greatly." Because my colleagues didn't like that, you know. They tried to dry up my resources and everything. And he said, "Well, I want him to be able to talk to the president." And he said, "Well, I will arrange the meeting and you can be assured." I was in his office at that particular time. I had set up the Foundation for Economic Enterprises Development, it was fully, contributions made to the organization, was fully tax deductible and I had gone through this ordeal, my friend James Peterson had worked with me and he was the executive vice-president of the organization and finally the meeting was arranged. It was just about a five minute, ten minute meeting.
LAMB: With the president?
LAMB: Was he interested?
ABERNATHY: No, Mr. Meese had told me that he was not interested. He, Mr. Ford, thought that he could call to the White House, some millionaires, about one hundred of them, and they could give the money that was necessary --- $100,000 each to the Foundation and take care of one who had suffered so much because I endorsed the president. Mr. Meese said that he could not call anybody to come to the White House and there were no private sector funds available and he told me that the public sector -- write a proposal. And we wrote a proposal, and finally, the Department of Transportation, UMTA -- finally we received a small grant, and we finally received a small grant from the Department of Labor, and that is all that we received and that was not enough to sustain that Foundation. So the Foundation now, is not -- has no address to receive contributions but I am working still with the Foundation and James Peterson is working still with the Foundation and hopefully we will get it back operating.
LAMB: What did you do in 1984, did you endorse President Reagan for a second term?
ABERNATHY: No, I decided to go with my friend, Jesse Louis. Jackson. Jesse Jackson had expressed the hope and the dream of receiving the nomination of the Democrats. So, naturally, he was my former employee and my friend, and so I went to -- I guess it was somewhere in North Carolina -- and when he announced his candidacy I supported him all the way. He preached at my church and spoke at the church and we were able to give him more than $10,000 in offering for his candidacy. And that was that, and we were proud to. And he has carried us closer as black people to the White House than any other person. Jesse Jackson is a good man. He is very, very articulate. He has his faults and failures as all of us have them and he has a big ego, but I do not know a president of the United States that has not had a big ego. I guess it takes a big ego to become the president.
LAMB: In the epilogue, again, you write about the illnesses that you had and you talk about the strokes. How many strokes have you had?
ABERNATHY: I have had two small strokes, never a massive stroke. I have had brain surgery, one of the carotid arteries was clogged and I went to Johns Hopkins Hospital. My wife took me there and I had a carotid artery and that artery supplies the blood flow to the brain -- there are two -- and I became the 51st person to undergo that microscopic surgery and it takes about 12 hours. I could not speak too clearly because of it being clogged. So, consequently, when the anesthesiologist came to me and gave me lessons and said, "Dr. Abernathy...," -- they call me "Dr. A." -- "Dr. A., when you wake up, I want you to wake up talking and when we ask you to move your right hand, don't move your left hand and you have to prove to us that you understand when we ask, who is the president of the United States, we want you to say, 'Ronald Reagan.'"

So, consequently, Mr. Reagan did call me and wish me success in everything and so when I finished with the surgery and the anesthesiologist called me, "Dr. A., wake up...," I knew and I heard them the first time, but I knew that I would have to spend the rest of my life, from my meager earnings and savings, paying them for such an operation, so I just caused them some anxiety.

They had to call me the second time. "Dr. A., wake up..." and I said, "I love Jesus, I love Jesus, I love Jesus." And they said, "Dr. A., don't say another word, because you are running your blood pressure off the cuff." What I was thought to be did not happen. I was to have a black eye and I was to have to be kept in intensive care for five to six days. But the next morning I was awakened and I had a full breakfast -- bacon and eggs, juice and coffee and they said, "Now we are going to get you out of here, because you are doing fine." And I called my wife over at the Hopkins Inn and she said, "Oh, Ralph, why are you -- are you still perking and kicking...?" And I said, "I am back in my room at Johns Hopkins Hospital." And she said, "I cannot believe it, they said that you would be there four to five days in intensive care." But God was good to me and God be the Glory, he is due all the praise and people across this nation had fasted and prayed for me and my family and Juanita is a very, very, lovely wife and I am proud that she is the mother of my four, lovely children. She is a great woman and she is a woman of great intellect. And she is just -- I love her.
LAMB: In the book, we have a picture here that the audience will see of your family, when was this taken?
ABERNATHY: Oh, that was taken, I guess, a couple of years ago.
LAMB: Can you tell us who -- is your daughter here?
ABERNATHY: Oh, that is Donzaleigh. Donzaleigh Abernathy is married now to George Bosley and George Bosley is a high school -- not high school -- but college school mate, who majored in the movie industry also. Donzaleigh is an actress. She maintains her name Abernathy. She is married to a young white man but she is dedicated to the family. She is the second of our two daughters.
LAMB: This daughter right here?
ABERNATHY: That is Donzaleigh.
LAMB: And you say that she is married to a white man?
ABERNATHY: Yes, uh huh...
LAMB: Would you tell us the story that you tell in the book about the marriage itself?
ABERNATHY: Well, it is just a very, very comical thing. The church holds about 2,500 people and the marriage was scheduled for 11 o'clock and it was thought that George's mother had a heart attack the previous evening and it turned out that she just had some gas pains or something like that but she was in the hospital. And George was to go by and let her check him out and see his tuxedo, and he neglected -- as young people will do -- to call the church and be in contact with me and I thought that he might have stood up my daughter.
LAMB: How late was he?
ABERNATHY: He was about 45 minutes late.
LAMB: So you had a church full of 2,500 people?
ABERNATHY: Yes, yes and they were waiting and Father Jamnicky from Chicago, Illinois, the Chaplain of the O'Hare Airport, had been invited to assist me in marrying my daughter and I was to marry her, but certainly he was to assist me and I had him go out and assure the people that George was running late and finally, George came. What a relief it was for me.
LAMB: All right, in this picture, in addition to Donzaleigh you have another daughter and let's see on the screen please ... Who is this daughter?
ABERNATHY: This daughter is Juandalynn. Juandalynn is our oldest daughter. She lives in West Germany as she is an opera singer. She sang at the wedding of Donzaleigh. She is not married. I chided recently about being able to see one of my grandchildren before passing on to the other side, my new home. And she said, "Oh, daddy, I am not married." And I said, "I would like to see some of my grandchildren." And she said, "Well, what about a surrogate, grandchild?" And I said, "Oh, no, no, I want the real thing. I want a real Abernathy."
LAMB: You have more children here in this picture, two sons, right here. Who are they?
ABERNATHY: Yes, that is Kwame Luthuli, 18-year-old student Williams College in Massachusetts now and Ralph David Abernathy III. He is a member of the State Legislature in Georgia.
LAMB: Ralph David Abernathy, our guest and the name of the book is "And the Walls Came Tumbling Down." Where did you get the title?
ABERNATHY: Well, I just thought about it and finally concluded to use the old spiritual ... “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho -- Jericho, Jericho, and the walls came tumbling down."
LAMB: Did you write this yourself or did you have help?
ABERNATHY: No, no, I wrote it myself. Naturally, I had editorial assistance and suggestions and I had a research person who checked out the dates for accuracy and who assisted me in reading and grammar and spelling of words and so forth but it is my writing, my story, my words."And the Walls Came Tumbling Down."
LAMB: How did you write it? Did you write it on a typewriter, long hand or a computer, or how?
ABERNATHY: Sometimes I wrote it on a legal pad, in long hand and I used to talk into a tape recording machine and the secretary would lift it from there and I would use various means. No I cannot operate a computer. I was not blessed with any such skills. I had to deal with the talking into a tape recorder or writing it in long hand. And I have my own type of short hand. You know, you have to write when you feel like writing, are inspired to write. I have to write my sermons like that so often my wife says to me, "You know, Ralph, if you complete your sermon and then we can go out to a party or visit some friends but you don't write." I don't write like that. I have to wait for the moment of inspiration to come. And I can work, work and work and work and work long hours way until the wee hours of the morning. Often I sit up all night long.
LAMB: Did you write totally from memory or had you kept notes over the years?
ABERNATHY: I had kept notes over the years but mainly memory. As I acknowledged in the introduction, the Bible was written by many, many inspired men of God. But the life of Jesus is recorded in what is referred to as the Gospels -- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And they give the life, the birth, the crucifixion, and the resurrection and the ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But they all tell it in a different way and I wrote it from my perspective. And I told it to the best of my ability. And memory sometimes fail. But I had a person to check me on accurate dates, especially the New York Times.
LAMB: There are 638 pages including the index in this book. And as you well know, three pages out of this book have been the focus of attention. The night before Martin Luther King was murdered. Are you surprised that only those three pages have been the subject of all the attention for this book?
ABERNATHY: I am greatly surprised and disappointed.
LAMB: Why?
ABERNATHY: Because to me it is only jealousy. I didn't ask anybody if I could write my autobiography. It is my story. The story of my life. And you would believe it was the story of the life of my dearest buddy and friend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And so it is not his story, but it is my story. And the second reason why I am surprised -- they took these four pages and created a controversy. And they sent me a telegram and tried to get me to retract, falsely accused me of not having written the book, and demanding that I withdraw. Tell the publisher "repudiate this book." And I said to her, "I cannot do that." And I went to Memphis on my first tour in promoting the book. And so when I got there, upon arrival at the Peabody Hotel, this young man from the Commercial Appeal on the newspaper...
LAMB: In Memphis?
ABERNATHY: ... in Memphis, was there. And he was a black young man and he said, "Dr. Abernathy I need to see you and ask you some questions." And naturally I didn't want to talk to him but he said, "It's very, very urgent." And I went up and checked in and went up to the room and came back to talk with him and he told me that the Associated Press had received a telegram - that had been sent to me from The Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social Change. I thought that was very, very unfortunate because The Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social Change is being very, very violent.

These people had not come to see me at all. Only the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Jesse Hill, had come to see me. And he came not reaching me, keeping me standing all day that Saturday and all day that Sunday. And on the Sunday brought a dear friend of mine who signed the telegram and he just left on the message box of my wife's telephone that I should look under the door because they had left a message for me, the copy - of the telegram that I would be receiving. And so I didn't. It was piercing and strong --telling me to repudiate it and I talked to Dr. Kilgore and to him the next morning and Dr. Kilgore was in very, very unique position because he had enough love for me and my family and enough love for Dr. King Jr. and his family. He loved and supported both of us. He was now in North Carolina and Jesse Hill hooked me into Dr. King, Dr. Kilgore, and we talked, we talked, we talked and we prayed, and we prayed, and we prayed and I agreed to receive calls from Lerone Bennett and from Bob Johnson, the editor of Jet magazine in Chicago and the editor of Ebony magazine, since they were learned in that field of publication.

And the next time I heard from Mr. Hill he was telling me or telling my wife that he had received a message that I was supposed to answer that I was supposed to give in response to. And Lerone Bennett never called me. Bob Johnson never called me. And I didn't dignify what they were trying to say to me. If they wanted to reach me my telephone is listed. The only black leader, nationally, black leader in the country. I have a listed telephone and you can look in the telephone directory and see the Reverend Ralph David Abernathy and you can look in the telephone book under the Mary Kay Cosmetic Section, Business Section and my wife's telephone is listed, Mrs. Juanita Odessa Jones Abernathy. And so, I have always had the burning desire to be accessible to the poor people of this country and the poor people of this land.
LAMB: Why do you think that your friends, and there are a lot of people that are well known -- Jesse Jackson was in that -- I assumed signed that telegram and others. Why do they feel that strongly about you publishing what you say is the truth about Martin Luther King?
ABERNATHY: Well, I don't know you would have to ask them. I cannot answer that question.
LAMB: They help sales? Are you selling more books because of all of the controversy?
ABERNATHY: No, I don't know, I have not been in contact with the Harper & Row. I just heard that they have ordered some more books, but I do not know how the sales of the books are going and whether they are helping or hurting. I just don't know.
LAMB: What do you think of the way the media has treated you, the interviews you’ve had – have they been fair?
ABERNATHY: No, a lot of people ask me the same old questions, there it goes again, the same question, over and over again. And Bryant Gumbel from NBC, my brother, who is my hero, marched hard and long for him to have the host of the Today Show, and he, one week prior to my appearance on NBC, had come to Atlanta and taped in the interview with me and had not even mentioned anything about Martin Luther King womanizing or anything but he wanted me to come to New York last Friday and I went to New York and I told him, you know, "Why come to Atlanta and ask me nothing about these pages?" And nobody had to ask me anything about Martin Luther King's womanizing and if they had been true, most people that read a book and buy a book, especially in the black community, they stop long before 435 pages. They don't read that far but they created a controversy.
LAMB: Why did you fly all the way to New York to sit down with Bryant Gumbel on the Today Show? Did he tell you what he was going to do, that he wanted to ask you about those pages before you flew up there?
ABERNATHY: No, he did not tell me that. I was scheduled to go to New York and to sign books and promote the book for Harper & Row. When I got there, just as I am in Washington today, I was invited to appear on your show, and so I was invited to appear on Phil Donahue's Show. My wife and I were both on the show and Ben Hooks was on that show, Roy Ennis was on that show with us and the four of us dealt with Mr. Donahue the same day. And Hosea Williams was invited and I understand that he had called me the Judas of the movement, and Hosea Williams had always supported me across the years and he had brought 30 pieces of silver and Judas sold out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

Now, the main thing, Martin Luther King wanted not to be a deity. He wanted to be just an ordinary man. He didn’t want to be a saint or viewed as a saint. He was just a human being, capable of becoming and producing and leading his people out of the wilderness of segregation into the promise land, saying to me, privately, long before he said it from the Memphis pulpit, "Ralph, I may not get there, but I have been to the mountain top." "Take my people on across this Jordan to the land of Canaan, and I want freedom for all Americans." And he freed many white people and poor people who were black, American Indians, the native people of this country and he was just a marvelous and fantastic leader and I am surprised that they would center on four pages and I didn't ever say that he had sex with anybody. I said that when I was awakened, he was coming out of the room with this lady and maybe, I don't know what they did, he never told me he had sex with that lady. He may have been in there discussing and debating and trying to get her to go along with the movement, I don't know, the sanitation workers track. I did not say that later that when we arrived at the motel, the Lorraine Motel, that he engaged in sex. I merely said that this Kentucky legislator was there and when I discovered that he was in good hands, I took off and went to bed because it was about 1:30 to 2 in the morning. I did not try to dodge the issue.

I wanted to tell the story, where my book would have validity and not be thrown out by historians because they would say he has been dishonest in not talking about the life of Martin Luther King in its fullest extent and so if he lies about one thing or looks over one side of the picture, the book is no good. I wanted it to be an honest and truthful book and I told nothing but the truth, so help me God. I am not a criminal and I challenge anybody to prove that the things that I said was not true in that book.
LAMB: Right after this book was published and right after the Memphis appeal reporter and the AP and all started writing about that four pages, the first thing that we read was that you had a couple of strokes and had brain surgery and that something was wrong -- and that was why you put it in here, and did not quite know what you were doing. And then after another series of stories, we read that Bernard Lee, who was written about as the only other man with you that night, I believe, before. Is that correct?
LAMB: Bernard Lee is out here in Lorton Prison as a chaplain...
ABERNATHY: Yes, that is right.
LAMB: ...but then you hear Bernard Lee being quoted as saying that you were intoxicated that night.
ABERNATHY: Well, Bernard Lee is quoted as saying that he is the assistant pastor of the West 100th Street Baptist Church...
LAMB: Where you were?
ABERNATHY: And I, where I am today and Bernard Lee has never assisted me as pastor of the West 100th Street Baptist Church, so he told an untruth. I have never been a drinking man. I have never desired even a strong -- a Coca-Cola is too strong for me and it burns my throat and I have never needed caffeine to wake me up. I have never been a smoker and I have never been a coffee drinker, even if it is decaffeinated coffee. They said that I have had two massive strokes and I have had brain surgery, but thanks be to God, you can ask me any question about what happened in the Movement. I was there and they were not there. I was there and I can give you an accurate account of what happened because I was there and I was alive and I was awake and I have never been drunk.
LAMB: One last question on this particular thing -- Why have your former friends, or you may call them still your friends, worked so hard at trying to discredit you? What will be -- after the dust clears on this -- what is the effect of trying to discredit you?
ABERNATHY: Well, I really don't know, for my so-called friends. First they are so-called friends because they didn't come to see me out of the 25-30 people that signed that telegram. Many of them I do not even know and, consequently, only, I guess two people came to see me while I had these so called massive strokes. Now, I am not paralyzed. A massive stroke leaves an individual paralyzed or the mouth disfigured, or something like that. I have all of my thinking faculties and my memory. I talk slow and I am not -- the wear and tear of the 63 years of my life has taken it's toll on me -- but I have been on this show. You told me when I came in that I came in here with the understanding that I was to talk to you for 45 minutes and you told me an hour and I am going an hour and I can go two hours, because I am an honest man and if you expect me to talk to you an hour, I will talk to you two hours if necessary.

Jesus says that when any man requires of you to walk one mile with him, walk two miles with him and that meant in my estimation, the one mile is required, but when you start walking the second mile, he is embarrassed and he starts loving you and being kind to you. And Jesus was a non-violent personality, but Jesus became violent on one occasion when he ran the people out of the temple because they were misusing his house. Martin Luther King shoved a woman across the bed the next day because he lost his temper. People are just people, human beings are mortal feeble beings and the apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh of which he spoke about.

I could call you a list of people. I am staying at the Jefferson Hotel, but Thomas Jefferson had made some mistakes also. The father of our nation, George Washington had made mistakes, the slave girls talked about his affairs. And Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- I don't propose to know and be able to talk about these people and I do not speak of them in this book but I do speak of my friend, Martin Luther King Jr. and he would want me to tell it like it is and be honest and truthful and I am not trying to hurt Mrs. King because she knows it is public knowledge.

J. Edgar Hoover had revealed Martin Luther King's lifestyle and in the book I tell of visits that I had made on his behalf and I am not trying to tell the children, his lovely children, of anything about that day because I love those children and they call me Uncle Ralph and they cited to me in the telegram that the Uncle Ralph I know would not do this. Yet, they do all kinds of things, including sending me mail to my house where they invite not my wife to the birthday celebration of Mahatma Gandhi. They are just always trying to ignore and re-write history.

If you go to the King's Center on the marches and demonstrations and if you go to the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, you will see pictures of me and Martin marching together and that somebody has cropped me off. They have decided that I am not going to fill my rightful place in history and, if they have the power to blot out my having been there by the side of Martin Luther King, they are willing. They have my permission to try to block me out because I came as Jesus came to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to free the captives to set liberty to those of the blues and to proclaim the acceptable year of the law. I have been talking to you all this time and have not even taken a drink of water from this lovely cup that I am going to take and put in a loftily place, signifying that I was here today.
LAMB: Let me ask you, and we are about out of time. Your chapter headings are Atlanta, Albany, Birmingham, St. Augustine, Selma, Chicago, Memphis, Charleston, Martin Luther King Jr., and then you have a chapter heading Jesse Jackson. Now let me read to you the last paragraph that you wrote about Jesse Jackson in this chapter."Yet I have supported him twice in his bid for Presidency..." - I assume that is 1984 and 1988?
ABERNATHY: That is right.
LAMB: "... And I suspect that I will support him again if he chooses to run. Over the years I have come to love and admire Jesse in part because he has matured into a great leader, in part because he has been so supportive of me." You go on to write though in the book, or you wrote before that in the book, about the night that Martin Luther King was killed and the story that we have looked at many times since then -- was Jesse Jackson there and did he cradle Martin Luther King in his arms? And you talk about how you did and how close you were to him, and that Jesse Jackson -- I haven't got the quotes here right in front of me -- was nowhere around right after the shot was fired. How much admiration is there from Jesse Jackson to you? And after this episode, where he has denounced you in what you said here, do you think you’ll still support him the next time that he runs for president?
ABERNATHY: Well, Jesse Jackson is a good man and he has shown amazing growth in his maturity as we all. He was young then but he did not cradle Martin Luther King. He was down in the Courtyard and his first reaction was to call Mrs. King and notify her that he had been shot. But I rushed to the side of Martin Luther King and I cradled him in my arms and Bernard Lee, I want you to ask him -- didn't I and he commit civil disobedience and stay in the operating room and the doctor came over and said to me that it would be an act of mercy if God took him because he would be a vegetable. He would be paralyzed from his neck down. And I want you to ask Hosea Williams, where did Jesse Jackson get that blood from -- the man that called me the Judas and the man that has supported me all of these years. And I have never done anything but try to tell the truth and try to be with Martin Luther King in all of his efforts while he was alive and lived in Resurrection City, right here in Washington D.C. and built the Resurrection City and stayed in the Movement -- trying to keep Martin Luther King's dream alive of exposing poverty in this nation.
LAMB: What is your favorite chapter, we just have a minute left, of all the chapters?
ABERNATHY: Oh, my favorite chapter is the chapter Little David, the first chapter in the book, because I just love, I just love my daddy. Upon birth when I was delivered by my maternal grandmother, Ellen Bell, he came home and made my name Little David and I regret that fact that my sister later added Ralph, because Ralph does not have much meaning but I love the name David. I was a Little David, like the goal I faced and I was able to do much, much to help Martin Luther King realize his dreams and my dreams and the dreams of all black people in this country.
LAMB: Our guest for the last hour has been Ralph David Abernathy and this is the book. "And the Walls Came Tumbling Down," an autobiography. Thank you for being with us.
ABERNATHY: Thank you so very, very kindly.

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