Tennessee defensive back Micah Abernathy wasn’t among the rush of Volunteers teammates streaming onto the field following the Volunteers’ Hail Mary win over Georgia last Saturday. It wasn’t because he wasn’t excited, but rather just reflective of missing a big part of his life.
Sharing his story with The Players’ Tribune, Abernathy said he took about 5 seconds to think about his father, who had died from colon cancer in March.
For those unfamiliar with Abernathy’s family story, Abernathy’s grandfather was a confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Micah’s father made a point of telling his son about his family. That’s been a significant point of pride for Abernathy, and he wants to do what his father always told him: “Be a good man.”
From The Players’ Tribune:
My grandfather, Ralph David Abernathy Sr., was Dr. Martin Luther King’s best friend and his closest advisor — he was with Uncle Martin in Memphis on April 4, 1968, and he held Dr. King in his arms after the shooting that took his life.
More than a decade earlier, my grandfather had helped organize the Montgomery bus boycott and worked to create the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. During the civil rights era, my grandfather would travel with Dr. King everywhere, and most of the time my grandmother was right alongside them, on the front lines — marching, protesting, seeking change. It was their life, their mission, and they made a huge impact on American society.
After Dr. King died, my grandfather took on an even greater leadership role in the civil rights movement and also became president of the SCLC.
Powerful words, and well worth your time to read.