Civil Rights Icon Celebrates His 88th in Style

Published October 9, 2009

The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, one of the nation’s preeminent civil rights leaders, will celebrate his 88th birthday Sunday amid an ocean of celebrities and fellow leaders in the movement for justice.

Lowery, a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King and others, was in the forefront of the fight to end state-sanctioned racial discrimination and segregation. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Obama, he gave the benediction at the inauguration.

Although his birthday was actually on Oct. 6, he will mark it with a host luminaries – including Aretha Franklin, Samuel L. Jackson, Tony Award winner Savion Glover, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Nicole Ari Parker, Steve Harris, Boris Kodjoe, Victoria Rowell and Keith David – on Sunday at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College. There will be a stage production, titled “A Mile in His Shoes,” from which proceeds will go toward the Joseph E. Lowery Institute for Justice and Human Rights at Clark Atlanta University.

Aretha Franklin will close the show as she sings with the Spelman and Morehouse glee clubs.

“I am very excited and grateful for the support that the institute is getting on this celebration,” Lowery told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But I am even more excited about the workshops we are having on criminal justice, education and the ongoing health care debate, which is right at the heart of what the institute is all about.”

Written by BET.com News Staff

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