Donzaleigh Abernathy Pays Tribute To The Civil Rights Movement

LEFT PHOTO: Selma to Montgomery March for the Right to Vote, 1965. One of many marches the Abernathy children attended with their parents. Front row, left to right: Donzaleigh Abernathy, Ralph David Abernathy III, Juandalynn R. Abernathy. Back row: Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta King. RIGHT PHOTO: Donzaleigh Abernathy, actress, author, Civil Rights activist and soloist in “The Listening.”

( ENSPIRE Feature ) Donzaleigh Abernathy Pays Tribute to Civil Rights Leaders Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Ralph Abernathy with ‘The Listening’

ENSPIRE Contributor: LaShonda Thompson

Donzaleigh Abernathy, daughter of the late civil rights pioneer Rev. Ralph Abernathy, has opened her vocal gifts to pay respect to her godfather, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom she referred to as Uncle Martin, in a meaningful speech. On the social justice recording “The Listening,” Donzaleigh’s voice can be heard as the lead soloist.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is known as the founder of the American Civil Rights Movement. Many Americans, however, are unfamiliar with his co-founder, Rev. Ralph David Abernathy. “The Listening” is a powerful musical piece that uses the power of music to bridge the gap between the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and the present Black Lives Matter Movement. Through rare photo and video footage, the accompanying video brings awareness to the story of King and Rev. Abernathy.

Photo Credit: Donzaleigh Abernathy

Donzaleigh has the unique perspective of having lived through the Civil Rights Movement as a child, on the front lines with her parents, siblings, the King’s, and other activists. She and her siblings were present for many pivotal moments, including King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech at the March on Washington in 1963.

“The Listening” is a social justice project inspired by King’s 1967 speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence,” delivered exactly one year before his assassination. It was composed by Cheryl B. Engelhardt under the artistic direction of Andre de Quadros. It features Wes Felton, son of jazz pianist Hilton Felton, Jr., conducted by Dr. Christopher L. Clark and performed by The Listening Choir.  

For more information on “The Listening” visit

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