Funeral for 'foot soldier' of civil rights Juanita Abernathy

Hundreds gathered at Friendship Baptist Church to pay tribute to Civil rights leader Juanita Abernathy.

The 89-year-old longtime Atlanta resident was remembered as active foot soldier and mother of the civil rights movement by those who packed the. church to say thank you.

"You brought us from the back of the bus to the front of the Whitehouse," Civil Rights leader Al Sharpton remarked to thunderous applause.

"No matter who and where we are, we should not take the life of Juanita Abernathy for granted. She sacrificed for us. There would be no Barack Obama or Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé or Tiger Woods without her," Rev. Sharpton affirmed.

"Four people turned a moment t into a movement and hundreds did not ride the bus for a year, saying I would rather walk in dignity, than ride in shame," the National Action Network founder exclaimed.

Peggy Wallace Kennedy, the daughter of segregationist and former Alabama governor George Wallace considered Mrs. Abernathy a friend.

"She saw character, rather than color a d she believed in me for who I was, rather than who I belonged to," Wallace Kennedy shared.

Congressman John Lewis asked the mourners to never forget the sacrifices and comments of Juanita Abernathy.

"It is important to never forget the distance we have come, the progress we have made, and the people who got us here. I do not know where America would be without Rev and Mrs. Abernathy, Rosa Parks and Dr. King and Mrs. King," the 5th district congressman proclaimed.

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Current Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former mayors Kasim Reed and Bill Campbell also spoke.

“I know black wives matter. Atlanta is like a street map of the civil rights movement in this country. We have Andrew Young Boulevard, Ralph David Abernathy, Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Joseph Lowery Boulevard, but where is Juanita Abernathy Drive or Coretta Scott King Drive?" asked former mayor Campbell.

Two of Mrs. Abernathy's adult children spoke, including Donzaleigh Abernathy and Kwame Abernathy.

The Rev. Dr. Jesse Wendell Mapson Jr. Preached the eulogy, while songs were performed by the Morehouse Glee Club and Santita Jackson, the daughter of the Rev. Jesse Jackson who also paid tribute to foot soldier.

"Juanita overserved and was under recognized," Rev. Jackson exclaimed.

Mrs. Abernathy is credited with writing the business plan for the Montgomery bus boycott, that later became the business model for the civil rights movement.

She and her oldest daughter survived their house being bombed in 1957. She opened her home to house and feed the freedom riders. She participated in the march on Washington, and helped lead the Selma to Montgomery march.

She served 16 years on the MARTA Board and was on the board of directors for the Fulton County Development Authority.

Mrs. Abernathy will be buried Tuesday in a private, graveside service.

MORE: US civil rights advocate Juanita Abernathy dies at 89