Clashes with the Ku Klux Klan began Joseph Lowery's life long fight for equality.
The man who became one of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s chief lieutenants was born in Huntsville, Alabama. Early encounters with bigotry would shape the direction of his life as a Methodist minister.
Inspired by Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Lowery led a successful campaign against Mobile's segregated bus system. He was there when a group of Southern preachers met at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta to form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to give greater direction to the civil rights movement.
Lowery faced violence and arrest many times, most notably during the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery. In 1968, he began pastoring an Atlanta church and played a vital leadership role in the city's life.
Lowery served as president of the SCLC for 20 years. The NAACP named him dean of the civil rights movement. In January 2009, he delivered the benediction at President Obama's inauguration.
This winner of the Medal of Freedom, who will be forever linked to the historic fight for civil rights, was born on October 6, 1921, Today in Georgia History.