Sens. Ossoff & Warnock, Georgia lawmakers introduce bipartisan legislation to establish National Historic Site honoring Reverend Ralph David Abernathy, Sr.
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock are pushing to recognize Atlanta’s West Hunter Street Baptist Church as a National Historic Site in honor of the late Reverend Ralph David Abernathy, Sr.
Sens. Ossoff and Warnock today introduced bipartisan legislation to establish West Hunter Street Baptist Church as a National Historic Site, protecting and preserving the church’s legacy for generations to come.
The Georgia lawmakers are pushing to name the historic site for Reverend Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, Sr., a prominent civil rights leader who began his pastoral service at the church in 1961 and served for nearly three decades.
“Ralph David Abernathy Sr. was a great Georgian, a great American, and a titan of the civil rights movement,” Sen. Ossoff said. “This is why Sen. Warnock and I are working together to establish Atlanta’s West Hunter Street Baptist Church as a National Historic Site and preserve the legacies of Reverend Abernathy, his wife Juanita, and the church.”
“Reverend Abernathy was a towering figure who constantly worked to push our nation toward its highest ideals,” said Sen. Rev. Warnock. “I am so honored to join my brother, Senator Ossoff, and a bipartisan cohort of lawmakers in introducing legislation to honor Reverend Abernathy’s West Hunter Street Baptist Church as a National Historic Site, so the indelible impacts of his life and legacy will never be forgotten.”
Congresswoman Nikema Williams (D-GA-05) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House alongside Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA-04), Austin Scott (R-GA-08), Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA-02), Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA-01), Lucy McBath (D-GA-07), and David Scott (D-GA-14).
“On behalf of the Ralph David Abernathy, III Foundation, Inc., and the entire Abernathy family, we are grateful to have this legislation introduced to commemorate the life, contributions, and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, Sr., for his significant role and leadership of the modern-day Civil Rights Movement. Special acknowledgments to members of the 113th Congress for passing H.R. 4119 approving the Special Resource Study, the National Park Service staff, the Secretary of Interior, Congresswoman Nikema Williams, Senator Jon Ossoff, and all cosponsors of the legislation to create the Ralph David Abernathy, Sr. National Historic Site,” said Annette Abernathy, President of the Ralph David Abernathy III Foundation, Inc.
“West Hunter Baptist Street Church played an active role in the civil rights movement where Ralph David Abernathy Sr. used his pulpit to lead the call for economic justice and civil rights. I am proud to introduce the Ralph David Abernathy, Sr. National Historic Site Act so future generations can carry on his work. We must honor Reverend Abernathy’s legacy of activism by preserving West Hunter Street Baptist Church, the church he led during the civil rights movement. As conservatives across the country attempt to erase Black history altogether, preserving Black history has never been more urgent,” Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) said.
“We need to showcase the entire history of the Civil Rights Movement, which has not been fully told. The Ralph David Abernathy, Sr. National Historic Site Act will help us tell that full story, and I commend my colleague Rep. Nikema Williams for re-introducing this bill. We deeply believe that it is our duty to preserve these landmarks in order to share their significance – particularly Rev. Abernathy’s significance – with future generations,” Rep. Hank Johnson said.
Click here to read the Ralph David Abernathy, Sr. National Historic Site Act.