Evelyn Gibson Lowery was an American civil rights activist and leader who founded SCLC/Women’s Organizational Movement for Equality Now, Inc. (W.O.M.E.N), the sister organization of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Lowery was born in Memphis, Tennessee on February 16, 1925, and was the daughter of activists Rev. Dr. Harry and Evelyn Gibson who provided her with the inspiration to dedicate her life to fighting for human rights at both the national and international levels. Her father served as president of the Memphis chapter of the NAACP and her mother was involved in community organizations.
After completing high school, Lowery attended Clark College and Youngstown University. She married Rev. Joseph Lowery in 1950, the President Emeritus of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) who also worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement.
In 1979, seeing a special need for women and families, Lowery founded SCLC/Women’s Organizational Movement for Equality Now, Inc. (W.O.M.E.N.), the sister organization of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The organization was founded to champion the rights of women, children, families, and respond to the problems of the disenfranchised regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, or religion. Through that organization she spearheaded education and mentoring programs, HIV/Aids awareness initiatives and raised over $350,000 for scholarships for high school seniors.
In 2004, Lowery was honored at the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Lowery was hospitalized on September 18, 2013 after suffering a severe stroke. She died September 26, 2013.