Evelyn Lowery, the wife of civil rights leader Joseph E. Lowery, and the founder of SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. (Women's Organizational Movement for Equality Now) was hospitalized late Wednesday after suffering a stoke.
A statement from the Lowery family said that she was taken to an unnamed hospital in Atlanta and is currently in critical condition undergoing treatment.
"During the night time hours, Mrs. Lowery, wife of long time civil rights leader Rev. Joseph Lowery, was rushed to a local hospital having suffered a stroke," the statement said. "As a family of faith, the Lowerys remain in prayer for their mother's recovery. Rev. Lowery remains by his wife's side and asks for the community's continued prayers."
Joseph and Evelyn were married in 1948 and Evelyn founded SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. in 1972, serving as its president. The organization was created to advocate on behalf of the rights of women, children and families and served as a sister group to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, founded by Dr. Martin Luther King and headed by her husband. Through that organization, Evelyn spearheaded education and mentoring programs, HIV/AIDS awareness initiatives and raised more than $350,000 for scholarships for high school seniors.
She is a member of the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame and a winner of the Rosa Parks Award. She also created the Drum Major For Justice Award, given annually near the April 4 anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.