Rev. Ralph Abernathy

On May 9, 1968, during Black Culture Week, Rev. Ralph David Abernathy addressed over 200 people at a dinner held at Northeastern’s Speare Hall.

Rev. Abernathy, comrade and successor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), delivered a speech that touched upon economic issues such as poverty, unemployment, and urban renewal. At the $100-a-plate dinner, Rev. Abernathy emphasized the need for adequate income levels and decent housing.

The function raised $15,000 for King’s family, SCLC, and the Poor People’s Campaign which had been created by SCLC in hopes of introducing a new element into the civil rights struggle. Poor People’s Campaign leaders wanted to address the economic inequalities and poverty that affect people of all races.