Donzaleigh Abernathy

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Donzaleigh Abernathy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Donzaleigh Abernathy
Donzaleigh Abernathy speaker at Virginia Military Institute.jpg

Donzaleigh Abernathy speaking at the Virginia Military Institute
Born August 5, 1957 (1957-08-05) (age 59)
Alma mater Emerson University
Occupation Actress
Home town Atlanta, Georgia

Donzaleigh Abernathy is an American actress.[1]

Early life[edit]

Abernathy was born in Montgomery, Alabama and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia during the Civil Rights Movement. The Abernathy children, along with the King children, integrated Spring Street Elementary School and began mass integration in the South. Abernathy briefly attended the Northside High School for the Performing Arts, before attended and graduated from the George School, a Quaker Prep School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Her father was Ralph Abernathy, an influential leader in the Civil Rights Movement. She was able to join her father, her mother Juanita Jones Abernathy and witness first-hand many significant events of the Civil Rights Movement.[2] Her family was very close to that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., another prominent figure of the Civil Rights Movement. The Abernathy and King children went to school together, performed extracurricular activities together, spent Sunday Dinners together, vacations and various holidays together. According to Abernathy herself, children from both families would hold performances for their parents on these occasions with Yolanda King, one of King’s daughters, acting as the director and Dr. King filming the performances. Abernathy acknowledges that “that’s really when [she] started acting.”[3]


After graduating from Emerson College in Boston, Abernathy moved to New York. She landed her first job after auditioning for a role with the Off Off Broadway production.[3] Since then, Abernathy has played roles in many different movies and T.V. series. In the historical drama Gods and Generals, she portrays a slave named Martha. Although the film itself was not critically well-received, Abernathy was praised for her part. One reviewer states that “Abernathy’s image of Martha combines strength with glamour.” She starred for four years as a Series Regular on Lifetime’s Any Day Now. As a child of the South, Abernathy was heavily influenced by the civil rights movement. As a result, she was able to connect with the role on a personal level.[4]



  • Partners to History: Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and the Civil Rights Movement (Crown, 2003) ISBN 978-0-609-60914-9

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