The Joseph Echols and Evelyn Gibson Lowery Collection is Now Available for Research: Providing Pathway for New Scholarship
The Atlanta University Center (AUC) Robert W. Woodruff Library was thrilled to announce on April 6, 2023 that The Joseph Echols and Evelyn Gibson Lowery Collection finding aid (discovery tool) and digital collection was now available for research. They provide a unique and invaluable look at the handwritten documents, correspondence, sermons, journals, photographs and audiovisual resources of the “Dean of the Civil Rights movement.”
“The AUC Woodruff Library is proud to play a role in expanding access to this body of primary-sourced materials now available to the global community for scholarly research, teaching and learning,” said CEO & Director, Loretta Parham.
In 2021, the family of late civil rights icons Rev. Dr. Joseph and Mrs. Evelyn Gibson Lowery gifted a priceless collection of official and personal papers, photographs, documents, writings, speeches, notes, travel diaries, and other mementos to Morehouse College. The Lowery Collection, gifted to Morehouse College, includes over 200 linear feet (549 boxes) of invaluable materials chronicling the Lowerys’ work with civil and human rights leaders and is housed at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library.
Over the past 18 months, a team of archivists and digital librarians at the AUC Woodruff Library have worked to organize, preserve, describe, and digitize these materials with the goal of making the collection broadly accessible both physically and digitally to the public.
THE FINDING AID (DISCOVERY TOOL)
Now available online, the Lowery Collection finding aid provides a detailed inventory that researchers can use to navigate the extensive collection. The finding aid spans years of content (1900-2019).
The finding aid will lead researchers to materials that document the resilience and impact of Black America in this collection and personal papers of Joseph and Evelyn Gibson Lowery, including telegrams from Dr. King to Dr. Lowery, handwritten recipes from Evelyn Gibson Lowery, never-before-seen sermon drafts, and the founding documents of SCLC’s Women’s Organizational Movement for Equality Now (SCLC/W.O.M.E.N) from Evelyn Lowery and more.
For example, the personal papers provide a glimpse into the lives and travels of the Lowerys and includes a brochure travel guide authored by the Lowerys and Ralph and Juanita Abernathy entitled “Let’s Visit Africa” which offers highlights from their 22 days of travel to Senegal, Liberia, Ivory Coast (now Cote d’Ivoire), Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.
The extensive photograph collection can be viewed allowing researchers to see images of the Lowery family, the March on Washington, the Citizenship Education Program, the Poor People’s campaign, the antiapartheid movement, the civil and human rights leaders of the 20th century and more.
THE DIGITAL COLLECTION
The digital collection contains over 4,000 digital objects and can be utilized by researchers to gain a high-level picture of the breadth of topics found in the Lowery Collection. Featured in the digital collection is a selected representation of content from the physical collection including photographs, personal papers, writings, SCLC records, SCLC/W.O.M.E.N. records, SCLC magazines, and audio and video recordings.
The jewel of the digital collection includes video and audio recordings documenting the professional careers of Joseph E. Lowery and Evelyn G. Lowery. View and listen to sermons delivered by Joseph E. Lowery during his ministerial career in Atlanta at Central United Methodist Church (1968-1986) and Cascade United Methodist Church (1986-1992), and watch recordings of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) conventions and other SCLC activities. In her capacity as the founder of the SCLC/W.O.M.E.N.’s Organizational Movement for Equality Now (SCLC/W.O.M.E.N.), Evelyn G. Lowery hosted annual Civil Rights Heritage Tours, the Drum Major for Justice Awards, and oratorical contests, of which several recordings exist in this category. The digital collection also contains over 3,000 images that can be viewed now.
For more information about the Joseph Echols and Evelyn Gibson Lowery Collection finding aid, please contact [email protected]. If you have questions about the other collections in the Archives Research Center, please visit https://www.auctr.edu/archives-and-collections/ or call 404-978-2052.
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About the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center (AUC), Inc.
Established in 1982, the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library partners with the nation’s largest consortium of historically black colleges and universities: Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College, providing information management, instruction and access to a variety of global information resources acquired and organized in support of teaching and learning, scholarship and cultural preservation of the Atlanta University Center and African American history. The Library has evolved into a model repository of information resources and a front-runner in the innovative delivery of digital resources.
The AUC Woodruff Library is also home to the Archives Research Center, which is noted for its holdings of materials on the African American experience, including the John Henrik Clarke Africana and African American Collection, the Henry P. Slaughter and Countee Cullen Memorial Collection, Black Women in Radio Historic Collection and the Southern Education Foundation Collection. The Archives Research Center is the repository of institutional records for selected schools within the Atlanta University Center and it serves as custodian of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection. The AUC Woodruff Library is the winner of the 2016 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the university category from the Association of Collegiate and Research Libraries (ACRL). Library CEO Loretta Parham was named the ACRL 2017 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. In July 2022, the AUC Woodruff Library became the 127th member of the Association of Research Libraries, becoming the second HBCU in its history to achieve this distinction. For more information, visit www.auctr.edu.
About Morehouse College
Founded in 1867, Morehouse College is a private, liberal arts institution and the only historically Black college dedicated to educating men. Morehouse is the nation’s top producer of Black men who go on to receive doctorates and the top producer of Rhodes Scholars among HBCUs. The College was named to the list of U.S. institutions that produced the most Fulbright Scholars in 2019-2020. As the epicenter for thought leadership on civil rights, Morehouse is committed to helping the nation address the inequities caused by institutional racism, which has created social and economic disparities for people of African descent. Prominent Morehouse alumni include: Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General; Shelton “Spike” Lee, Academy Award-winning American filmmaker; Maynard H. Jackson, the first African- American mayor of Atlanta; Jeh Johnson, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security; Louis W. Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services; Bakari Sellers, attorney and CNN political analyst; Randall Woodfin, elected as the youngest mayor of Birmingham in 120 years; and Raphael Warnock, the first Black Senator from Georgia. For more information, visit: https://morehouse.edu.
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