BEAVER FALLS, Pa. – National civil rights leader Rev. Joseph Lowery, who formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was on the front battle lines in Alabama to combat racial injustice and inequality, will speak at Geneva College as part of the Colloquia Series. Lowery will share his inside experience and perspective on the civil rights movement and its impact with the Geneva Campus community and the public on Thursday, April 12th and Friday, April 13th at Skye Lounge in Geneva’s Student Center. There is no admission charge.
Rev. Lowery began his work with civil rights in the early 1950s in Mobile, Alabama, where he headed the Alabama Civic Affairs Association, an organization devoted to the desegregation of buses and public places. During this time, the state of Alabama sued Rev. Lowery, along with several other prominent ministers, on charges of libel, and seized his property. The case went to the Supreme Court, which sided with the ministers.
In 1957, Rev. Lowery and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In 1965, he was named chairman of the delegation to take the demands of the Selma-to-Montgomery March to Alabama’s governor at the time, George Wallace.
Rev. Lowery is a co-founder and former president of the Black Leadership Forum, a consortium of black advocacy groups. The Forum began protesting apartheid in South Africa in the mid-1970s and continued until the election of Nelson Mandela.
In addition to serving as pastor to several churches over the years, Rev. Lowery’s efforts to combat injustice and promote equal opportunities had led to the extension of provisions to the Voting Rights Act, the desegregation of public accommodations in Nashville, Tennessee, and the hiring of Birmingham, Alabama’s first black police officers. Most recently, he received a standing ovation for his eulogy of Coretta Scott King in which he noted Mrs. King’s enduring commitment to end poverty and violence.
Rev. Lowery attended Knoxville College, Payne College and Theological Seminary, and the Chicago Ecumenical Institute, where he ultimately earned his doctorate of divinity degree. He is married to Evelyn Gibson Lowery, an activist in her own right.
According to Dave Guthrie, academic dean at Geneva College, “We are pleased to bring Rev. Lowery to Geneva to talk as part of The Colloquia Series. This series is designed to expose the campus and surrounding community to some of the compelling and provocative socio-cultural, scientific, religious, literary, educational, political and economic ideas and practices that shape the world today and into the future. We have found that the conversations that are spawned from guests’ presentations offer rich opportunities to consider and to formulate principled Christian responses both intellectually and practically.”
Geneva College, a reformed Christian liberal arts school founded in 1848, prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva is a founding member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).