Hundreds gathered at the King Chapel on the campus of Morehouse College to pay their last respects to Evelyn Gibson Lowery, a pioneer in civil rights and women’s empowerment and the wife of the Rev. Joseph Lowery.
She died at home on Sept. 26 following a massive stroke a week earlier that left her with irreversible damage. She was 88 yers old.
A series of tributes filled the two-hour service that drew tears and laughter from those gathered. She was praised for her work as a leader in her own right as well as being a rock to her husband, who has been called the “dean” of the civil right movement.
Xernona Clayton said she teased Mrs. Lowery about waiting on her husband hand and foot. They were married for 67 years. She said they were devoted to each other. In addition she established her own initiatives, including founding SCLC/WOMEN in 1979.
Scarlet Pressley-Brown, interim-chair of SCLC/WOMEN, called her the mother of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, scheduled to open next year.
In addition to SCLC/WOMEN, Mrs. Lowery founded the Drum Major for Justice awards to recognize people and organizations working for social justice. She also established the annual Heritage Trail tours in Alabama to retrace the steps of civil rights battles and to dedicate monuments to those who gave their lives in the struggle.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, head of the National Action Network and host of Politics Nation on MSNBC, said “her work speaks for itself.”
He added, “She stood shoulder to shoulder with one of the greatest civil rights leaders the world has ever known.”