Evelyn G. Lowery
Mrs. Evelyn Lowery introduces Ms. Valeri Jarrett (part 1)
Mrs. Evelyn Lowery introduces Valeri Jarrett at Women Flying High’s Women’s Equality Day Celebration in 2008.
Lowery was born in Memphis, Tennessee on February 16, 1925, and was the daughter of activists Rev. Dr. Harry and Evelyn Gibson. They provided her with the inspiration that became the foundation for a lifetime of involvement in human rights at both the national and international levels. Her father served as president of the Memphis chapter of the NAACP and her mother was involved in community organizations. She attended Clark College and Youngstown University. She married Rev. Joseph Lowery in 1950. He is President Emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the American Civil Rights Movement. She also marched in the historic Selma to Montgomery March in 1965, and re-enacted the trip several times.
In 1979, seeing a special need for women and families, Lowery founded SCLC/Women’s Organizational Movement for Equality Now, Inc. (W.O.M.E.N.), the sister organization of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. It was organized to champion the rights of women, children, families, and responding to the problems of the disenfranchised regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, or religion. Through that organization she spearheaded education and mentoring programs, HIV/Aids awareness initiatives and raised over $350,000 for scholarships for high school seniors. Over the years, Lowery also took the lead in recognizing the contributions of fellow activists. She moved to develop coalitions and alliances with a variety of women’s groups throughout the nation and other parts of the world.
In 1980, Lowery created the Drum Major For Justice Award, held annually near the April 4th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the founding president of SCLC, who wanted to be remembered as “a Drum Major For Justice.” The awardees are recognized by their contributions to the cause of freedom, equality, and achievement in their professional fields. A partial list of awardees includes Rosa Parks, The Original Tuskegee Airmen, Rev. Hosea Williams, Maya Angelou, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Mae Jamison, Andrew Young, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., and James Meredith. She was also responsible for the erection of the Civil Rights Freedom Wall in Perry County, Alabama, and monuments honoring movement icons such as Viola Liuzzo, John Lewis and Hosea Williams.
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- Jump up “EVELYN G. LOWERY”. in.com. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- Jump up “Civil rights pioneer Evelyn Lowery dies at 88.” Yahoo News. Retrieved 26 September 2013.