(Dean of Civil Rights Movement)
Dr. Joseph Echols Lowery was born in Huntsville on Oct 6, 1921, to Dora and Leroy Lowery. He grew up in Lakeside (Methodist) church. He began his education in Huntsville, spent his middle school years in Chicago, and returned to complete high school. He attended Alabama A&M University. Knoxville College, Payne College and Theological Seminary. He served as pastor of United Methodist churches in Mobile, Birmingham and Atlanta for 45 years, retiring from the pulpit in 1997. He received numerous honorary degrees, including the L.H.D. from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Ebony magazine twice named him as one of the Fifteen Greatest Black Preachers. His childhood home was located on this site on Church Street. Side B
Dr. Lowery was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement for more than 40 years. He helped desegregate buses in Mobile in the early 1950's and spearheaded the hiring of Birmingham's first black police officers. He co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957. In 1965, Lowery chaired the delegation to take demands of the Selma-to-Montgomery March to Gov. George Wallace. The "Bloody Sunday" attacks on marchers led to passage of the 1965 National Voting Rights Act. Lowery co-founded the Black Leadership Forum, a consortium of national black advocacy organizations. He received lifetime achievement awards from the NAACP, Black Leadership Forum, and National Urban League. He retired from the SCLC in 1998 after 41 years of leadership, and remained active in equal justice issues.