Dr. Joseph Lowery, the Dean of the Civil Rights Movement passed away early Saturday morning at his home in Atlanta. The co-founder and president for two decades of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference had been a leader in the Civil Rights movement since the early 1950s, walking alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Rev. Ralph Abernathy and now Congressman John Lewis.
Lowery said in a 2012 interview, “The difference between civil rights today and in the ’60s, lies in the clarity of the objectives of each period. We had clear-cut goals that you could plan to achieve. Now we’re dealing with a very complicated economic system and the goals are not as clear. The techniques are not as simple. So we have a tough job and we are fighting a powerful enemy – the people who control.”
During his 90th birthday celebration at Atlanta’s Woodruff Center for the Performing Arts, the always prophetic pastor shared candid comments about the economy and election:
Rev. Lowery on elections … “I think that before the election that the American people are going to come to themselves like the prodigal son came to himself. I think the American people are going to realize that we must not listen to the people who care more about their own agenda than they do the welfare of this country. They care more about their personal good than they do the common good.”
Rev. Lowery on human rights … “We’ve got to recognize number one that the struggle is not over. We’ve won some great victories. We’ve won some great battles, but we’ve never won the war. The war is still raging and we have to continue to fight. I think we have to form alliances, coalitions with other groups – White, Hispanic and otherwise. We have to form coalitions to fight on common ground for common goals,” said Lowery.
Rev. Lowery on equality … “The older I get, the more I like equity better than I do equality. We get confused with equality, [but] we understand equity because it’s spelled with a dollar sign. We’ve got to find ways to make things more equitable in this county. The people on Wall Street are doing us a great service because it reminds us that we’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go.”
In 2009, Dr. Lowery received the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama.
Dr. Lowery was 98 years old.
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