ATLANTA (AP) — Evelyn Lowery, a pioneer in civil rights and women’s empowerment and the wife of the Rev. Joseph Lowery, died Thursday at her home in Georgia, a family spokeswoman said.
Family spokeswoman Diane Larche said the 88-year-old Lowery died Thursday morning. She had been hospitalized since Sept. 18 after suffering a severe stroke and returned home on Wednesday night, after medical experts said the stroke had caused irreversible damage.
Joseph Lowery said his wife devoted her life to serving others.
“My beloved Evelyn was a special woman, whose life was committed to service, especially around the issues of empowering women,” Lowery, a past president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said in a statement to The Associated Press.
The SCLC, which traces its beginnings to the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott, organized nonviolent protests as it pushed for an end to segregation around the South during the civil rights movement.
Evelyn Lowery founded SCLC/WOMEN Inc. in 1979. The group works to empower women, girls and families. She also created the Drum Major for Justice Awards, held annually in April in Atlanta.
“As a woman and warrior in the non-violent struggle for justice, Mrs. Evelyn Lowery boldly confronted the challenges of racism and sexism, never flinching, never failing in her commitment to the best in the American spirit,” said the Rev. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr. and his father once preached.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said he was chairing a Democratic Caucus meeting in the U.S. Capitol when he learned of Evelyn Lowery’s death and asked members to observe a moment of silence in her honor.
“Mrs. Lowery was a pillar of our community, a valuable participant in the struggle for civil rights, and an admired role model to the young people she mentored,” Lewis said in a statement.
Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young told WXIA-TV in Atlanta, “Nobody was more active and more dedicated and nobody did any more for the civil rights movement than Evelyn Lowery. The unsung heroes of the civil rights movement were always the wives and the mothers.”
Bernice King, CEO of the Martin Luther King Center, said Evelyn Lowery was a dedicated and energetic leader and one of the most widely respected figures in the civil rights movement.
Earlier this month, Joseph and Evelyn Lowery were in Birmingham, Ala., for the 50th anniversary of a church bombing that killed four black girls in 1963.
“She was a wonderful mother and wife, and I thank God that she didn’t suffer any pain and that I was blessed having her as my partner, my confidant and my best friend for close to 70 years,” Joseph Lowery said. “I will miss her each and every day, but as a man of faith, I know that she is with her God.”
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
1 of 25
2 of 25
3 of 25
4 of 25
5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
5 of 25
6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
6 of 25
7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
7 of 25
8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
8 of 25
9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
9 of 25
10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
10 of 25
11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
11 of 25
12. Late nights mornings
12 of 25
13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
13 of 25
14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
14 of 25
15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
15 of 25
16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
16 of 25
17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
17 of 25
18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
18 of 25
19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
19 of 25
20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
20 of 25
21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
21 of 25
22. Claudia Jordan: ....
22 of 25
23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
23 of 25
24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
24 of 25
25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
25 of 25