Martin Luther King, Jr.

images for Martin Luther King, Jr.
Exhibition Label
Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy ride the first integrated bus in Montgomery, Alabama
King proved to be the ideal choice to orchestrate and sustain the Montgomery bus boycott. As a relative newcomer to Montgomery, he was able to bring together all factions of the black community without regard to past rivalries. Through inspirational addresses delivered at mass meetings in Montgomery’s black churches, King galvanized support for the boycott and clearly articulated the case for nonviolent action, declaring, "We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love; we must meet physical force with soul force." He found a strong ally in fellow Montgomery minister Ralph Abernathy, and during the course of the boycott the two men forged a strong working relationship and a deep friendship. Continuing for an unprecedented 381 days, the bus boycott ended only after the United States Supreme Court ruled bus segregation unconstitutional. When the first integrated bus rolled through Montgomery on December 21, 1956, King and Abernathy sat side by side.
Ralph David Abernathy: Male
Ralph David Abernathy: Literature\Writer
Ralph David Abernathy: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Activist\Civil rights activist\Civil rights leader
Ralph David Abernathy: Religion and Spirituality\Clergy\Minister
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Male
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Activist\Civil rights activist\Civil rights leader
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Religion and Spirituality\Clergy\Minister
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Nobel Prize
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Presidential Medal of Freedom
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Congressional Gold Medal
National Portrait Gallery
Restrictions & Rights
© Ernest C. Withers
Ernest C. Withers, 7 Aug 1922 - 15 Oct 2007
Martin Luther King, Jr., 15 Jan 1929 - 4 Apr 1968
Ralph David Abernathy, 11 Mar 1926 - 17 Apr 1990
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution © Dr. Ernest C. Withers, Sr. courtesy of the Withers Family Trust
Gelatin silver print
Image: 37.7 x 45.3cm (14 13/16 x 17 13/16")
Sheet: 40.5 x 50.3cm (15 15/16 x 19 13/16")
Mat: 55.9 x 71.1cm (22 x 28")
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
1956 (printed later)
United States\Alabama\Montgomery
Object number
Ralph David Abernathy: American\African American
Martin Luther King, Jr.: American\African American