"When I started off in '55 in Montgomery, recognition and honor was nowhere in my mind," Abernathy told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a 2013 article. "I started when there were no cameras and no newspapers writing nice things about you, instead they were writing all sorts of ugly things. But we kept going. It wasn't about us. It wasn't about me. It has always been about right and righteousness. Justice and equality. Not just for me and my family, but for all of God's children."
In January 1957 while Rev. Abernathy and Dr. King traveled to Atlanta to establish the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Abernathy and her infant daughter survived the bombing of their home by white supremacists.
Ralph David Abernathy died of heart attack in 1990 at age 64.
Juanita Abernathy continued working after the height of the movement and the deaths of many of its leaders, including serving on boards such as MARTA's and the Fulton County Development Authority.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this article.