Evelyn Lowery to be remembered in ‘Hero’ mural

September 23,2014


Last September Atlanta lost of one of its most respected civil rights leaders when Evelyn Lowery passed away from complications related to a severe stroke. The 88-year-old activist championed the rights of women, advocated for marginalized members of society, and fought for those causes in the face of death threats.

In the coming weeks, Lowery will be honored with a new mural painted on the side of a two-story former nightclub at the corner of Auburn Avenue and Bell Street, a few blocks away from where she founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's sister group, Women's Organizational Movement for Equality Now, Inc. (W.O.M.E.N.), in 1979.

"Evelyn dedicated her life to the causes of the [civil rights] movement. She never stopped," says Rev. Joseph Lowery, longtime civil rights leader and Evelyn's husband. "It was truly her life's work along with raising our daughters. She tried to have a positive impact on the opportunities and lives of women and children particularly."

The proposed mural, a 10-foot-by-25-foot acrylic painting, features Evelyn Lowery in her earlier years, making a speech outside the headquarters of SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. Her image, accompanied by the word "Hero," in large capital letters, is placed alongside a short description: "Championing the rights of women, children, families, and responding to the problems of the disenfranchised regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, or religion."

The Evelyn Lowery mural marks the second public art installation in the "Hero" series created by local arts and design collective the Loss Prevention. In 2012, the Loss Prevention created a massive work of public art paying tribute to Atlanta Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis on the eastern face of the Renaissance Walk residential complex at the corner of Auburn Avenue and Jesse Hill Jr. Drive.

Sean Garrett and Maggie White (co-owner of Young Blood Gallery), the husband-and-wife duo behind the Loss Prevention, say the goal of the "Hero" series is to create public art focused on Georgians who have affected the lives of everyday people. For the next mural in the series the group wanted to memorialize a female civil rights activist with roots in Sweet Auburn. They chose Lowery after an informal poll they conducted in the historic district to get feedback on civil rights leaders worthy of the honor.