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Civil Rights Crusader Evelyn Lowery Dies At Age 88


It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

One of the country's notable civil rights activists has died. Evelyn Lowery was at the front of the line marching from Selma to Montgomery. And her activism did not end in the 1960s. It defined her entire life. Here's Lisa George of member station WABE with a remembrance.

LISA GEORGE, BYLINE: Evelyn Gibson Lowery was born into a life of activism. Her father was a Methodist minister and led the Memphis NAACP chapter. In 1948, she married Joseph Lowery, also a Methodist preacher, who would later join the burgeoning civil rights movement. She was by his side in Birmingham and in Mobile and walked with her husband as he helped lead the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery.

Years later, Evelyn Lowery helped establish the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Here's its CEO, Doug Shipman.

DOUG SHIPMAN: She also knew a lot about history, so she would share stories of various things that had happened over the course of her life to us. So she was somebody who you liked being around and you also learned a lot from being around.

GEORGE: When Joseph Lowery became chair of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the late 1970s, she saw an opportunity. She established a sister organization, SCLC/WOMEN, in her words, to champion the rights of women, children, and families. Starting in 1987, Evelyn Lowery led an annual heritage tour to Alabama to show young people the sites of the civil rights movement.

EVELYN LOWERY: This is actively showing them whose shoulders they're standing on and challenging them to be responsible citizens, and as soon as they're able to vote, to do so.

GEORGE: Her advocacy continued her whole life. Just this February, she spoke at an event to protest gender-based violence.

LOWERY: Women of all ages, now is the time for organization, legislation and mobilization. We must give the dignity to the women and girls of this world.

GEORGE: Evelyn Lowery suffered a stroke September 18 and died early this morning. She was 88. For NPR News, I'm Lisa George in Atlanta. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lisa George

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