Friday, April 3, 2020

Civil Rights Legend Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery Has Died At 98

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Rev. Joseph Lowery Lived A Full Life Of Activism For Equality And Civil Rights
Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery Photo Credit
By Kamau Austin

Atlanta GA -- Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, a long time civil rights activist and former colleague of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., passed away today at the age of 98.  He helped Dr. King in founding the well regarded trailblazing Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and later served in leadership as the Vice President, Chairman of the Board, and President of the racial justice organization for 2 decades (1977 - 1997).

Rev. Lowery took over the mantle of the iconic civil rights organization after Rev. Dr. Ralph Abernathy.  In 2009 Lowery was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama.  He was considered by some as "the Dean of The Civil Rights Movement," in more recent years.

Dr. Lowery had an admirable academic background as he attended the Knoxville College and Alabama A&M College.  Lowery graduated from Paine College.  He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Lowery subsequently graduated from Payne Theological Seminary.  Dr. Lowery completed his Doctor of Divinity degree at the Chicago Ecumenical Institute.

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Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery began his career in civil rights as the Pastor of the Warren Street Methodist Church, from from 1952 to 1961.  In 1955 when Rosa Parks, was arrested for refusing to give her seat to a white passenger, in the Jim Crow south, Dr. Lowery helped mobilize the historic Montgomery bus boycott.

"He headed the Alabama Civic Affairs Association, an organization devoted to the desegregation of buses and public places. In 1957, along with Martin Luther King Jr., Lowery founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and subsequently led the organization as its president from 1977 to 1997" according to Wikipedia.

He was involved with Dr. King in the "bloody Sunday" 1965 Selma to Montgomery March which pricked the conscience of a nation and gathered momentum for the Civil Rights Movement.  He also founded other social activism groups like the Black Leadership Forum, which was noted for advocating to end Apartheid.

Rev. Dr. Lowery was one of the 1st five Black men arrested at the South African Embassy in Washington D.C. during the End South Africa Movement.  According to Wikipedia "To honor him, the city government of Atlanta renamed Ashby Street for him. Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard is just west of downtown Atlanta and runs north-south beginning at West Marietta Street near the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and stretching to White Street in the "West End" neighborhood, running past Atlanta's Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, and Morris Brown College."

Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery is one of the last luminary religious leaders who marched with Dr. King, stood for civil rights, and helped change the racial dynamics in this country to be more fair and equitable.  This historic minister and charitable soul will be sorely missed for years to come.  Rest in power Dr. Lowery. 

President Obama With Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery Photo Credit

Writer's Bio:  Writer Kamau Austin, is the award winning Publisher of the Black News Scoop and Scoop Publications, a division of AMS Digital Media.  He is a long time activist, entrepreneur, and author.  Austin has been featured in Black Enterprise, Fortune Magazine Small Business, CNN, radio, cable, and countless newspapers and blog sites.   

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Posted by community events coordinator, Nzinga Lonstein Austin, is a prolific blogger who writes on the entertainment industry and issues for people with developmental and physical challenges.

She is presently in high school looking to have a career in video, film, and media. You can see more of her entertainment writing on Lonstein Movies.

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