As remembered by Jonathan Steele
April 2, 2019
I AM very sad to announce the passing of Ralph David Fertig. Ralph was a Freedom Rider, who worked with Core from 1946-1967, NAACP 1947-1965, SCLC 1961-1967, and SNCC 1961-1963.
As remembered by Sharlene Kranz
May 2, 2019
Ralph Fertig was a most important person in my life during my last two years of high school. He lived in Washington, DC then, and his home was always open to SNCC workers traveling through town. I remember many parties at his home, sometimes fundraisers for SNCC, sometimes just fellowship for SNCC workers and students from the NAG group at Howard University. This was 1963-64, and there weren't that many places in D.C. at that time for a 'mixed' group of young people to gather, safely, and have a good time. Ralph's house was a refuge for young people. Ralph and his wife were warm, hospitable and loving to us.
Ralph lived in an old house, and he told us that the basement had been part of the Underground Railroad. The basement had brick walls but a dirt floor.
One night I went to a Bob Dylan concert downtown, and sent a note backstage asking him if he wanted to go to a SNCC party after the show. He sent back a note that I should meet him at the stage door after the concert with my car. I did, and I took Bob Dylan to a party to Ralph's. Bob's first words upon entering Ralph's house were "what have you got to drink?". Many hours later I dropped Dylan at his hotel.
Ralph Fertig had a life of meaningful service. May his memory be for a blessing.