- Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
International Civil Rights: Walk of Fame
Evelyn Lowery
Evelyn Lowery
1927 - Present

Evelyn Gibson Lowery has been both foot soldier and leader at pivotal moments in the Civil Rights Movement. In the 1950s, with her husband activist Rev. Joseph Lowery, she demonstrated against segregation in Mobile and Birmingham, Alabama. She participated in the Selma to Montgomery March for black voting rights in 1965. Almost 20 years later, she marched from Alabama to Washington, D.C to encourage the extension of the Voting Rights Act. The fearless activist was arrested and jailed in the 1980s for demonstrating against South African apartheid and toxic waste dumping in North Carolina. She has continued to participate in demonstrations even after bomb threats and being shot at by the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama.

As an advocate for the rights of women, children and families, Lowery established the SCLC /W.O.M.E.N. in 1979. Through that organization she has spearheaded education and mentoring programs, HIV/Aids awareness initiatives and raised over $350,000 for scholarships for high school seniors. Over the years, Lowery has also taken the lead in recognizing the contributions of fellow activists. She created the annual "Drum Major for Justice Awards" after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1987 she conducted the Evelyn Lowery Civil Rights Heritage Tour. She is also responsible for the erection of the Civil Rights Freedom Wall in Perry County, Alabama and monuments honoring movement icons such as Viola Liuzzo, Rev. James Orange, John Lewis and Rev. Hosea Williams.

The daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Harry Gibson Sr., Evelyn followed the example of activism set by her parents. Her father served as president of the Memphis chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and her mother was involved in community organizations. She attended Clark College and Youngstown University. She married Joseph Lowery in 1950. The couple are the parents of three daughters.