Mar 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Civil rights leader Rev. Joseph Lowery dies at 98

Rev. Joseph Lowery and Coretta Scott King lock arms with UAW president Leonard Woodcock as they lead several thousand marchers past the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta

In May 1970, the Rev. Joseph Lowery (striped tie) and Coretta Scott King (with handbag) lock arms with UAW president Leonard Woodcock as they lead several thousand marchers past the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. Photo: AP Photo

Rev. Joseph Lowery fought to end segregation, and lived to see the election of the United States' first black president, AP writes.

The big picture: Lowery was born in Huntsville, Ala., in 1921. He helped coordinate the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, leading the organization for 20 years as president.

Lowery, 98, died Friday at home in Atlanta, surrounded by family, from natural causes unrelated to the novel coronavirus.

  • "We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back; when brown can stick around; when yellow will be mellow; when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right," Lowery prayed at President Obama's inaugural benediction in 2009.

Background:

  • For more than four decades after the death of his friend, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., the fiery Alabama preacher was on the front line of the battle for equality.
  • In the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Lowery led the delegation that delivered stipulations to segregationist Gov. George Wallace. That confrontation spurred the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
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