Civil rights legend Rev. Joseph Lowery has died

The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery gives the benediction at the end of the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington,  Jan. 20, 2009.
The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery gives the benediction at the end of the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 20, 2009.

Credit: RICK MCKAY

Credit: RICK MCKAY

The nation is mourning a titan of the Civil Rights Era.

The Rev. Joseph Lowery has died a few months after celebrating his 98th birthday with loved ones.

His daughter, Cheryl Lowery, confirmed his passing late Friday night.

Lowery made his mark in the 1950s and 1960s as a key civil rights leader at the shoulder of Martin Luther King Jr., helping to start the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

He would go on serve the longest tenure in history as the president of the SCLC.

His career would see him pastor Cascade United Methodist Church and deliver the benediction at the 2009 inauguration of the country’s first black president, Barack Obama.

The King Center is among the many prominent voices and institutions grieving the loss.

The Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice & Human Rights celebrated his 98th birthday with an October party at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot in downtown Atlanta.

"He is getting sentimental in his 98th year," Cheryl Lowery, said at the time. "He wants to spend time and love on the people who have meant so much to the movement and to him and he wants an opportunity for the people of the community of faith and social justice to come together."

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