Dr. Abernathy was away at the time with Dr. King organizing the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which became the driving force of the civil rights movement. Ms. Abernathy, who was pregnant, was at home at the time with her toddler daughter, but both escaped unharmed. Death threats, however, continued for more than a decade.
Two members of the Ku Klux Klan later confessed to the bombings and were indicted. Both were acquitted of all charges by an all-white jury while spectators cheered.
Mr. Lewis said that men got most of the credit for the civil rights movement but that behind the scenes “women were often the doers, the organizers and advocates who formed the backbone of the struggle.” Ms. Abernathy, he said, “was no exception and was often a shining example.”
Juanita Odessa Jones was born on Dec. 1, 1931, in Uniontown, Ala., the youngest of eight children of Alexander and Ella (Gilmore) Jones. Her parents were successful dairy, beef and cotton farmers. The Tuskegee Institute designated them the most successful black farmers in the so-called Black Belt in the 1940s.