- Hardcover: 638 pages
- Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st edition (November 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060161922
- ISBN-13: 978-0060161927
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #564,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: An Autobiography Hardcover – November, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
Abernathy's autobiographical account of the birth and struggles of the civil rights movement is inspirational and deeply moving. With Martin Luther King Jr., his closest colleague, he helped organize the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and the 1965 march in Selma, Ala.; he and King went north to Chicago in 1966, where they battled Mayor Richard Daley and found racism as endemic and deep-rooted as in the South. He cradled King in his arms when the latter was assassinated in Memphis. Son of a stern, righth- ous farmer father, Abernathy became a Baptist pastor after fighting in WW II with a segregated platoon. In a voice at once down-to-earth and eloquent, he recounts protests, jailings and bombings in Birmingham, St. Augustine, Washington, Charleston and elsewhere. He defends his support of Reagan's 1980 presidential bid, as well as his support, in the next two elections, for Jesse Jackson. Reading this engrossing, powerful memoir-as-history will force white Americans to confront the legacy of racism. Abernathy conveys a sense of how the civil rights movement discovered its tactics and direction in response to individual situations. Photos.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
One opens the autobiography of Martin Luther King's closest associate and friend with excitement. Unfortunately, Abernathy makes slight contribution to what we know already about Montgomery, Selma, and the several other great episodes of the civil rights era upon which he focuses, and he entirely omits others, such as the 1963 March on Washington. Nor does he attempt to lure readers with intimate disclosures. Regarding political rivalry and sexual pastimes among movement leaders he is, on the whole, reticent. He is more interesting in the account of his 1980 endorsement (now regretted) of Ronald Reagan. When King chose Abernathy as his successor, he lacked power to transfer the stature he had won in civil-rights leadership, and Abernathy has always suffered in comparison. This autobiography, awkwardly and incompletely told, will not adjust his historical standing. Necessary only for collections in civil rights.
- Robert F. Nardini, N. Chichester, N . H .
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Ralph David Abernathy is the lesser known architect and protagonist of the Civil Rights movement of the 60's. Martin Luther King's right hand man and successor after King's death, Abernathy was at the front of all the civil right's battles and victories.
This is a thick book, some 620 pages. The book details all the civil rights battles of the 60's including Montgomery, Atlanta, Albany, Birmingham, Selma, Chicago and more. Going into each crusade for equal rights for blacks the policy was always none violence. In the face of overwhelming odds from local police forces with water canons, night sticks and dogs, the marchers were taught to kneel and pray and, to offer no resistance to arrest. If one march didn't work, their numbers would swell and they would march again. Amazing resolve.
The Jim Crow segregation laws that plagued the Southern States eventually started the movement in all earnest after the Rosa Parks incident on a Montgomery, AL bus. Though hers was not the first such incident, hers is the most remembered. Abernathy, deeply religious formed the Civil rights movement along with a very charismatic individual named Martin Luther King and, along with thinking alike, they both were willing to put themselves in danger both physically and institutionally to bring attention and affect change for America's black population.
Such a fantastic story of struggle and total devotion to human rights that, sadly, aren't repeated too often today. Each crusade brought a new strategy but, none violence was always paramount. As the years rolled on, new blood coming into the movement wanted to use violence but Abernathy and King held firm.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've enjoyed this book. Initially, I was skeptical and wondered if there was a trader. However, it was insightful and informative. Read morePublished 8 months ago by SHOE FETISH 2
The best revolutionary is a youth devoid of morals." Vladimir Lenin (see bottom of page and reply link for sources)
January 6, 1964, was a long day for Martin... Read more
The sincerity and goodness of Mr. Abernathy shines brightly throughout this very detailed account of his life, Dr. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Bentley Plummer
This autobiography provided an excellent view of events contributing to the civil rights movement. The authors account is thought provoking and educational.Published 17 months ago by Sonya Hardy
I am such a fangirl for this book it is almost embarrassing. There are two particular ways in which it works for me.
One is the voice of the author. Read more
I read this book and thought how terrible for a close friend to write a book about someone who trusted him with his innermost secrets. Read morePublished 22 months ago by D. D.