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Ten O'Clock News; Ralph Abernathy


Jan von Mehren reports that Ralph Abernathy (author and civil rights activist) has written a book about his experiences in the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King, Jr. Von Mehren notes that Abernathy signed copies of the book in Cambridge; she adds that the book is called, And The Walls Came Tumbling Down. Von Mehren reports that the book is controversial because Abernathy has revealed King's human side and his faults. Von Mehren's reports includes footage of the book signing in Cambridge. Michael Dorn (Cambridge resident) says that he would rather not know compromising information about his heroes. Von Mehren interviews Abernathy. Abernathy says that King would have wanted him to write this book. Von Mehren notes that Morris Dees (Southern Poverty Law Center) is one of the leading critics of the book. Von Mehren reviews Abernathy's career in the civil rights movement. Von Mehren's reports includes footage of Abernathy speaking at the Cambridge Baptist Church, and later gathered in the church with Mel King and others. Von Mehren's report also includes clips of Abernathy and King from the film, From Montgomery to Memphis. After the edited story, there is additional black and white footage from From Montgomery to Memphis.

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Ten O'Clock News

Ralph Abernathy

Series Description

NIGHTLY NEWS WITH CHRISTOPHER LYDON AND CARMEN FIELDS Began January 1976. Replaced evening news show EVENING COMPASS. Original host: Steve Nevas. Other anchors, Christopher Lydon (1977-91) and Gail Harris (1983). In 1980 - hour long. Ended in 1991.

(PREDECESSORS: Louis Lyons began news operations at WGBH in 1952. The News at 10 began in 1966. The Reporters premiered in 1970. The Evening Compass started in 1974.) Series release date: 1/1976



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


African American religious leaders
African Americans -- Civil rights
King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
Role models
Abernathy, Ralph, 1926-1990
Cambridge (Mass.)
News Report
Abernathy, Ralph, 1926-1990 (Interviewee)
von Mehren, Jan (Reporter)
Chicago: “Ten O'Clock News; Ralph Abernathy,” 11/08/1989, GBH Archives, accessed June 19, 2024,
MLA: “Ten O'Clock News; Ralph Abernathy.” 11/08/1989. GBH Archives. Web. June 19, 2024. <>.
APA: Ten O'Clock News; Ralph Abernathy. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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