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franklin county times

Celebration to mark black history month

The month of February is designated each year as Black History Month with the intent of celebrating prominent African Americans who changed the perception of racial profiling and fought for equality in America.
Locally, Jack Abernathy is one of those men.
He took the first steps to change the face of law enforcement in Franklin County more than 30 years ago.
In January 1980, Abernathy was sworn in as the first black deputy of the Franklin County Sheriff’s office.
Abernathy said he didn’t have many problems in the beginning.
He helped open the door for other African Americans who have since entered law enforcement since that time.
Abernathy said it seemed easy being a deputy at first, then things started to take a turn for the worst.
He said things changed after became a deputy.
Abernathy stayed with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for almost a year before transferring to Lawrence County because of personal reasons.
He served as an officer in Lawrence County for three years and was able to take part in guarding U.S. President Jimmy Carter during his tenure there. Abernathy left Lawrence County and took a position at the Leighton Police Department, where he would be forced to end his career as an officer because of a motorcycle accident.
Through a number of extensive rehabs, Abernathy was able to fight through his injuries and become eligible to work again.
Abernathy set his sights on private investigations and continued that profession until he was able to retire on his own terms. He served 12 years as a constable in Franklin County.
Sunday Abernathy will gather with countless others to look back on the great strides made for equality in America and here locally.
First Baptist Church College Avenue will host an African-American History and Business Exposition Sunday from 4-7 p.m. at the A.W. Todd Centre in Russellville.

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