Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery’s wife, Evelyn, dies

Spelman College president Dr. Beverly Tatum, Mrs. Evelyn Lowery and Spelman LEADS exec. dir. Jane Smith
Spelman College president Dr. Beverly Tatum, Mrs. Evelyn Lowery and Spelman LEADS exec. dir. Jane Smith

Civil rights icon Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery is mourning the loss of his wife of 67 years, Evelyn, who passed away today after suffering a massive stroke last week. The Lowerys were married May 5, 1946, and have been leaders in the Atlanta community for more than five decades. According to her bio, Lowery, along with her husband, president emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, demonstrated against segregation and participated in the Selma to Montgomery March for black voting rights in 1965.

In 1979, seeing a special need for women and families, Lowery founded the SCLC/Women’s Organizational Movement for Equality Now Inc., the sister organization of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Through that organization she has spearheaded education and mentoring programs, HIV/Aids awareness initiatives and raising funds for scholarships for high school seniors. Over the years, Lowery has also taken the lead in recognizing the contributions of fellow activists. She has moved to develop coalitions and alliances with a variety of women’s groups throughout the nation and other parts of the world.

In 1980, she founded the “Drum Major for Justice Awards Dinner” and in 1987, she founded the Evelyn G. Lowery Civil Rights Heritage Tour, a two-day motor coach tour through out Alabama. She has erected 13 monuments of Icons of the movement which include: Viola Luizzo, Jimmie Lee Jackson, Albert Turner Sr., Rev. James Orange, Rev. Hosea Williams, Congressman John Lewis, Mr. Earl T. Shinhoster, Rev. James Reeb, Amelia Boynton Robinson and Mrs. Rosa Louise Parks among others. In 1988, she founded the Women’s Empowerment Training Center for GED/computer training. In 1995, she created the Bridging-The-Gap Girls to Women mentoring program.

In 2004, Lowery was herself honored at the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, located in Atlanta. In 2012, the civil rights champion was honored at the eighth annual Spelman College Leadership Conference with the Legacy of Leadership Award.

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