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Civil Rights Activist Evelyn Lowery Dies

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(Credit: Scott Cunningham
/National Basketball Association/Getty)

(Credit: Scott Cunningham
/National Basketball Association/Getty)

Jean Ross
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Atlanta (WAOK)- The family of Mrs. Evelyn Lowery has confirmed that she passed away this morning after suffering a massive stroke over a week ago.

Evelyn Lowery was born 1925 in Memphis, Tennessee to Rev. Dr. Harry and Evelyn Gibson. She attended Clark College and Youngstown University and in 1948 married the Rev.  Joseph Lowery.

The daughter of activists, Lowery has provided inspiration to many people through her life of involvement with human rights at local, regional, national, and international levels.

Working alongside her husband – who is currently President Emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference – she played a passionate role during the American Civil Rights Movement; participating in the historic Selma to Montgomery “Bloody Sunday” march in 1965, and several times after.

Lowery became tired of witnessing the rights of women, children, and families not being upheld which prompted her to found the SCLC/ Women’s Organizational Movement for Equality Now Incorporated in 1979.

The organization was created to positively react and be responsive to the problems that marginalized people face regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, or religion. Through Lowery’s unwavering guidance, the SCLC/ W.O.M.E.N. Inc. has grown into an international association, organizing a substantial amount of education and mentoring programs as well as HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns throughout the world.

Lowery marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and cited him as an inspiring force to her movement. She created the Drum Major for Justice Award in 1980, to honor Dr. King by presenting it to a person who has demonstrated an exemplary passion for human rights. The award is presented annually near the April 4 assassination of Dr. King.

In addition, Lowery contributed to the erection of the Civil Rights Freedom Wall at the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama.

Lowery also made many influential contributions to human rights, such as being specially appointed by the former Mayor Maynard Jackson to arrange clothes for missing or murdered children for burial, as well as on the Metro Christian Council of Atlanta Board of Directors.

Lowery received countless awards for her efforts including the Rosa Parks Award, the APEX Museum’s Tribute Award, the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers Award, as well as being recognized as one of the 100 most influential women in Atlanta by the Atlanta Business League’s Women of Vision.

In 2004, Mrs. Lowery was honored at the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.

Lowery suffered a massive stroke on September 18. She was hospitalized with irreversible brain damage for a week. The family made the decision to bring her home to spend her final time around family.

Mrs. Evelyn Lowery was 88.

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