Joseph Lowery: Veteran US civil rights leader dies aged 98

Joseph Lowery, a veteran US civil rights leader and former “dear friend” of Martin Luther King Jr, has died aged 98, US media report.

Rev Lowery was a founding member of the Christian Leadership Conference, where he worked alongside Dr King.

He spoke at the funeral of Dr King’s wife, Coretta, and at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

Months later, Mr Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour.

In a series of tweets, the King Center paid tribute to “the great” Rev Lowery, who it said had passed away on Friday: “We will miss you, Sir”

Rev Lowery helped establish the Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an African-American civil rights organisation set up to promote racial equality. He served as president from 1977 to 1997.

He married civil rights activist leader Evelyn Gibson in 1950. The couple had three daughters, and Rev Lowery had two sons from an earlier marriage.

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