SANTA BARBARA, CA - DECEMBER 06: Joseph Lowery attends the 'Selma' and the Legends Who Paved the Way gala at Bacara Resort on December 6, 2014 in Goleta, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Happy 95th birthday Joseph Lowery! 7 things you didn't know about the civil rights icon

Joseph E. Lowery has so many shining moments from an impactful life that only few have ever lived. 
He worked alongside the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He helped form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He aided in one of the most famous civil rights markers in American history, the Montgomery bus boycott. 

And now he can celebrate yet another rare moment. Lowery turns 95 years old today. Behind the nonagenarian's legacy, there's a detailed journey, perhaps some interesting facts that few people will ever know. 

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 15: Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Andy Young (L) and Civil Rights leader Rev. Joseph Lowery (R) prepare for the first pitches prior to the Civil Rights game between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on May 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Here are seven interesting facts about civil rights icon, Rev. Joseph Lowery.

1. Lowery has a nickname. 

Many call him the "dean of the civil rights movement."  

2. At the age of 12, Lowery says he was beaten by a white police officer. 

He recalls that he was repeatedly hit after he unintentionally bumped into the policeman.  

3. He has a doctorate in divinity. 

He graduated with a Ph.D. from the Ecumenical Institute in Chicago in 1950.  

4. Lowery has had his personal assets seized by government officials. 

The Montgomery commissioner sued him and a few other members of the SCLC for libel because of a 1960 newspaper ad that criticized the city's police department. Although they initially lost the case, the decision was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1964.  

5. In the early 2000s, Lowery led the effort to remove the Confederate battle flag from the Georgia state flag. 

He led this movement even though he officially retired in 1992.  

6. The year of his birth isn’t officially known. 

Some sources say he was born 1921, while others record his birth year as 1924. 

7. Lowery has been awarded the highest honor a civilian can be awarded during times of peace.

In 2009, President Barack Obama awarded Lowery the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his large contribution to the national interest of the United States.

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