A private family burial for Dr. Joseph E. Lowery was held earlier today in Atlanta on Saturday, April 4th at the historic Westview Cemetery. The “Dean of the Civil Rights Movement” was laid to rest beside his beloved wife and partner in the civil rights movement, Dr. Evelyn Gibson Lowery, who preceded him in death in 2013. Rev. Lowery’s service today, coincides with the 52nd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, his dear friend and colleague in the movement, and on the eve of Palm Sunday, the great procession into the holy city.
As a result of the revised guidance provided by Fulton County Public Health Officials and the implementation of a statewide shelter-in-place order for Georgia effective on April 3, the private service was held for 10 family members only.
“After much thought and consideration of options that would be compliant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines on COVID-19 prevention and social distancing, we were unable to hold a service that could accommodate our dear community of support,” said Cheryl Lowery, President and CEO, of the Joseph & Evelyn Lowery Institute, and youngest daughter of the civil rights icons.
“Our father always encouraged everyone to act in service for the common good,” Lowery continued. “In these unprecedented times, the best way for each of us to do that, is to follow guidance from our public health and state officials to prevent community spread of coronavirus.”
The intimate family service was officiated by Reverend Doctor Keven Murriel, Senior Pastor of Cascade United Methodist Church, the church where Lowery pastored from 1986 until his retirement in 1992. The brief gravesite program concluded with Lowery’s three daughters, which he lovingly called “the daughters three,” singing an a capella tribute to their father.
Other tributes to Lowery today include a digital image of the civil rights icon on the Corey tower billboard in the heart of downtown Atlanta and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, illuminating Atlanta City Hall in royal blue to remind the people of Atlanta of the continuance of his work and legacy through the Lowery Institute.
A public memorial will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, which would have been Dr. Lowery’s 99th birthday, with the hope and prayer that this pandemic will be behind us. This celebration will ensure friends and supporters from near and far can honor Dr. Lowery and his legacy, together as a community, in a manner that he so rightfully deserves.