Evelyn Lowery in critical condition after stroke

Evelyn Lowery, the wife of civil rights leader Joseph Lowery, remained in critical condition late Thursday after suffering a stroke, family members said.

Evelyn Lowery, 86, was hospitalized late Wednesday.

Neither the family nor a family spokesperson would provide specific details.

But in a statement issued by the family Thursday afternoon, they acknowledged that she was “in critical condition and is currently undergoing treatment.”

“As a family of faith, the Lowerys remain in prayer for their mother’s recovery,” the statement read. “Rev. Lowery remains by his wife’s side and asks for the community’s continued prayers.”

The Lowerys have been married for 65 years and were in the process of planning a fundraiser and 92nd birthday celebration for Rev. Lowery, which will be held Oct. 6 in King International Chapel at Morehouse College.

While her husband has risen to become a monumental figure in the civil rights movement, Evelyn Lowery has held her own as an activist.

“She is one of those strong persons. She is like the quiet storm, who has supported her husband for so long and never wanted to focus on herself,” said longtime friend Xernona Clayton.

In 1979, while her husband was in his second year as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, she established SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. (Women’s Organizational Movement for Equality Now).

Initially a branch of the SCLC, the organization eventually split and in the late 1990s and early 2000s exceeded its former parent in several areas, including AIDS awareness, historic documentation and preservation, health and welfare, and programs aimed at strengthening black families.

“I think she did it mainly to show that women could make a big difference,” Clayton said. “After Dr. King’s death, there was still so much work to be done. She wanted to make sure women stayed active because women are deliverers. She wanted their voice, their elbows and their commitment.”

In 1980, she created the Drum Major For Justice Award, which honored people for their contributions to the cause of freedom, equality and achievement.

In 2004, Clayton inducted Evelyn Lowery into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

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