Rev. Joseph Lowery
Founder and Presidet Emeritus, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Dr. Lowery deliver the benediction during the inaugural ceremony for President Obama
Outspoken civil rights activist the Reverend Joseph Lowery was born on October 6, 1921, in Huntsville, Alabama. Considered the dean of the civil rights movement, Lowery began his education in Huntsville, spending his middle school years in Chicago before returning to Huntsville to complete high school. From there, he attended Knoxville College, Payne College and Theological Seminary, and the Chicago Ecumenical Institute. Lowery earned his doctorate of divinity as well.
Lowery began his work with civil rights in the early 1950s in Mobile, Alabama, where he headed the Alabama Civic Affairs Association, an organization devoted to the desegregation of buses and public places. During this time, the state of Alabama sued Lowery, along with several other prominent ministers, on charges of libel, seizing his property. The Supreme Court sided with the ministers, and Lowery's seized property was returned. In 1957, Lowery and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and Lowery was named vice president. In 1965, he was named chairman of the delegation to take demands of the Selma to Montgomery March to Alabama's governor at the time, George Wallace.
An Evening with The Rev. Joseph Lowery