Civil Rights Dean The Rev. Dr. Joseph Echols Lowery Peacefully Transitions at 98 Years Old…

Hello World,

The Joseph and Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice & Human Rights announced this sad news recently.

Our beloved, Rev. Dr. Joseph Echols Lowery, made his transition peacefully at home at 10 p.m.Friday, March 27, at the age of 98. He was surrounded by his daughters.

Hailed as the “Dean of the Civil Rights Movement” upon his receipt of the NAACP’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Lowery had assumed and executed a broad and diverse series of roles over the span of his nine decades: leader, pastor, servant, father, husband, freedom fighter and advocate.

Born in Huntsville, Ala., on October 6, 1921, his legacy of service and struggle was long and rich. His genesis as a civil rights advocate dates to the early 1950s, when he headed the Alabama Civic Affairs Association, which led the movement to desegregate buses and public accommodations. In 1957, with friend and colleague Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he was a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

He served as Vice President (1957-1967), Chairman of the Board (1967-1977), and as President and Chief Executive Officer (1977-1998). To continue his legacy and promote non-violent advocacy among future generations, The Joseph E. Lowery Institute for Justice & Human Rights was founded in 2002 at Clark Atlanta University. The Institute was later renamed to include and honor Dr. Evelyn Lowery, his beloved partner in marriage and the movement for 67 years.

Calling on his over 40 years as ‘pastor’ and in his inimitable style, Dr. Lowery delivered the benediction on the occasion of President Barack Obama’s inauguration as the 44th President of the United States in 2009. Later that year, President Obama awarded him the nation’s highest civilian honor, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, in recognition of his lifelong commitment to the nonviolent struggle for the causes of justice, human rights, economic equality, voting rights, peace and human dignity.

Our entire family is humbled and blessed by the overwhelming outpouring of love and support that has come from around the globe. We thank you for loving our father, Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, and for your continuous prayers during this time. However, the family will not be conducting interviews during this grieving period.

In lieu of flowers, cards or food, donations may be made to The Joseph & Evelyn Lowery Institute for Justice & Human Rights. Dr. Lowery’s life was driven by a sense of obligation to our global community and desire to champion love over hate; inclusion over exclusion. The Lowery Institute was founded in 2002 to further Dr. Lowery’s legacy of promoting non-violent advocacy among future generations.

Donations can be sent to The Joseph & Evelyn Lowery Institute, P.O. Box 92801, Atlanta, GA 30314, or made on-line by clicking here.

Aligning with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines on COVID-19 prevention and social distancing, plans are underway for a private family service. A public memorial will be held in late summer or early fall.

Thank you,

The Lowery Family

Any thoughts?

All Love is ‘Struggle Love’ – Breaking Down the Humans of New York Instagram Story of Bobby & Cheryl Love…

Hello World,

As the week of love begins today with Valentine’s Day on Friday, I thought I would write about something that has been brewing in my mind ever since I heard the term “struggle love” a few years ago or so. According to the Facebook page “Just Say No Struggle Love,” ” below is the definition of “struggle love” –

And last week, I heard about the curious case of Bobby & Cheryl Love whose love story was featured in an 11-part Humans of New York Instagram Post…The gist of the story is that before Bobby Love was a husband to his wife Cheryl for 40 years, he was a criminal named Walter Miller. After Walter Miller escaped from prison in North Carolina, he traveled to New York where he began going by a different moniker and he married Cheryl, who knew nothing of his past. Bobby Love seemingly became a different man, having and raising four children with his wife and named a deacon in their church to boot.

This charade went on for 40 years until the FBI showed up at their doorstep on morning, and his secret was revealed to Cheryl and his new family. Bobby Love went to jail, but his wife advocated on his behalf, sending letters to the governor, testifying for him, getting testimonies from others who knew Bobby Love not Walter Miller including church members and children he coached. Luckily, he was only in jail for a year as Cheryl’s advocacy worked. After he was released, Walter Miller officially changed his name to Bobby Love, and Bobby and Cheryl are still married today.

 

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(11/11) “I got to work. I wrote letters to the governor. I wrote letters to Obama. I gathered testimonials from everyone that Bobby ever knew: all the kids he used to coach, all the people at our church, all of our family members. I testified on his behalf. I didn’t know a thing about Walter Miller. But I told them all about Bobby Love. And the parole board took mercy. After a year in prison, they let him come home. The day after he was set free, I sat him down and asked: ‘What is it? Are we the Loves? Or are we the Millers?’ And he said: ‘We Love. We Love.’ So I had him change his name legally. And now we’re moving on. I still have my resentments. When we get in a fight, I’ll think: ‘This man better appreciate that I forgave him.’ But the thing is– I did forgive him. And when I made that decision, I had to accept all the territory that came with it. I can’t make him feel that debt every day of his life. Because that’s not the marriage I want to be in. The whole world knows now. We’ve got no secrets. But I think this whole mess was for the better of things: better for me, better for the kids, and better for Bobby. He doesn’t have to hide anymore. He can look at me when I’m speaking. Not only that, he’s hearing me too. My voice is heard. I used to walk on eggshells. I used to just go along. But I told him one thing. I said: ‘Bobby, I’ll take you back. But I’m not taking a backseat to you no more.’ Because I got my own story to tell. I can write a book too. I might not have escaped from prison, and started a whole new life, and hid it from my family. But I forgave the man who did.”

A post shared by Humans of New York (@humansofny) on

It was a fascinating love story of forgiveness that is worthy of a book and a movie…While Veronica Wells of Madame Noire writes that Bobby and Cheryl’s love story was “beautiful,” she notes the love story is not “romantic.” She also writes,

“And while I certainly appreciate the story, the fact that they were able to work things out, and that Bobby is a free man. I want the Black community to place it in the proper context. It’s not relationship goals. And honestly, while Cheryl and Bobby seem happy together, I don’t think Black women should be applauding this type of narrative. Women shouldn’t have to deal with not only liars but emotionally unavailable men for decades. They shouldn’t have to marry men who are harboring life-altering secrets. Secrets are a trope in the Black community.”

Veronica Wells did not use the term “struggle love,” but based on the definition above, I would imagine that the writer of these “Just Say No to Struggle Love” Facebook posts would probably put Bobby & Cheryl’s love story in this category. But I would like to submit that all love is struggle love. Yes, I will admit that I would not sign up for Bobby & Cheryl’s love and this is an extreme case of the struggle love, but in all love, there are struggles. I know of another fascinating love story of forgiveness that I also wrote about the Sunday before Valentine’s Day in 2011…I wrote about Betty T. Smith’s story that she wrote about in her book, “Nothing Wasted: When Evil Befalls You, Know That God Keeps You Standing.”

See the description below –

When her husband announces that he has been unfaithful and asks for a divorce after twenty-eight years of marriage, it appears to Betty that her dream has died. However, in the midst of her pain, God gives her a promise of restoration. Clinging to that promise, she chooses to stay faithful until her husband’s return, however long it may take. With candor and courage Betty Smith shares her highs and lows, from the courtship, to the birth of her children, to seeing the man she loved walk out the door, and how she weathered the storm by standing on the promises of God. “Nothing Wasted” is a love story, not just between Betty and her husband, but also between Betty and the God who was always there, always faithful, and who never let her down.

Her husband Bob left her in 1978, and it wasn’t until 2008 when he was sick and about to die that the two reconciled. He revealed to her that he had never stopped loving her and asked for her forgiveness, and Betty confessed her love as well. But secretly within, she grappled with other emotions…

“I had waited thirty years to hear those words, but they came from a broken man, and I never wanted that. I wanted my strong, virile Bob to knock on my door, confess his undying love, sweep me off my feet, and then we would have many more years of wedded bliss. But we were running out of time.”

Bob died days later…After the funeral, Betty went to the cemetery to take fresh flowers to his grave. Mysteriously, one faded yellow rose lay on his grave.

“I took it home with me, for I recognized its name: Acceptance with Joy. My Lord retrieved for me one yellow rose as confirmation that He does not waste anything. He kept every promise and gave me a happy ending.”

Betty dedicated her book to Robert Lee Smith, “her soul mate.”

To me, that story is a “struggle love” story and is a white woman’s story. Truly, I’m not envious of Cheryl Love nor Betty T. Smith, and I hope that I don’t ever have to be in a love that requires that amount of struggle and forgiveness. Though all cases of “struggle love” may not be as extreme as these two cases, trust and believe that if you endeavor to love someone, there will always be a struggle…(Even self-love requires a struggle, but that is another post for another day…)

In the love chapter of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, it is stated that,

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

If love is not supposed to be “struggle love,” why does love have to be “patient?” If love is not supposed to be “struggle love,” why does love require not being “easily angered?” If love is not supposed to be “struggle love,” why can’t you keep a “record of wrongs? And then at the end, it is said that love “perseveres.” By definition, to persevere means to struggle…

And in traditional marriage vows, where “better” is mentioned so is “worse,” where “richer” is mentioned so is “poorer,” where “health” is mentioned so is “sickness.” And then at the end, staying together until “death” is mentioned. Staying with someone until they die is a struggle…

I understand that by coining the term “struggle love,” it is meant to keep black women from making stupid choices in love. And there are stupid choices to be made. I understand that Lori Harvey is having fun with Future right now, and I get that as a young woman on the scene to be seen…But chile, please don’t make him your future and become one of his baby mamas…

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But I don’t care if you marry Barack H. Obama, there will be a struggle or struggles…Now, every love story won’t require what was required of Bobby & Cheryl Love or Bob & Betty Smith, thanks be to God who sits on High but yet looks Low, but if you aspire to be in love, know that a struggle will be required…All. love. is. “struggle love.”

With that being said, Happy Valentine’s Day, LOL?

 

Any thoughts?

 

 

Kanye & His Sunday Service to Appear at Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church Today & I Don’t Know How I Feel About It…

Hello World,

Imagine you’ve entered into my prayer closet…This is what is what you will hear today…

Dear Lord,

Your child Kanye is back in the news again (not that I really needed to inform You of this because You are omniscient)…as if he has ever been out of the news since his first album “The College Dropout” dropped in 2004…I loved his song “Jesus Walks” Lord because it glorified your son and it was banging…And although he didn’t seem like a usual Christian artist based on his repertoire, I knew that song had to mean something to him. It was so in your face. And then he was dating a Delta at the time (“Through the Wire” – “She was with me before the deal she been trying to be mine. She a Delta so she been throwing that dynasty sign.) And he was cute.

And it’s true that his first album was his best album to me anyway, but everything ain’t for everybody and that’s fine. And then he dropped his woman who he was with before the record deal and the fame and fortune and got with different women. But you don’t have to be a famous and fortunate man to have a revolving door of relationships and with fame and fortune, the revolving door probably turns at whiplash speed. And I appreciated his outburst about Hurricane Katrina. It may have not been true, but I respect the sentiment behind his delivery…He spoke from the heart and used his platform to highlight a critical issue…

And Lord, I really don’t understand why his mother had to die when she did in 2007 and so tragically too. I don’t care how famous someone gets and how much fortune someone amasses, nothing compares to having a loving family including your parents in your corner…And let’s be honest Lord, that’s when he started being in the news for not-so-good stuff. I mean it’s been 10 years this year since your child interrupted another one of your children Taylor Swift during one of her first big moments at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009 and people are still talking about it…Even then your child President Obama, who is from Kanye’s hometown of Chicago, had to weigh in on your child’s tomfoolery…

And Lord, correct me if I’m wrong, but do you think that then President Obama’s rightful critique of Kanye has caused him to latch on to current President Trump, who is also your child, like he has? And then, your child allowed the words slavery was a “choice” to drop from his lips. He may as well dropped a bomb on the black community with that hate speech! But I did feel compassion for your child again when he opened up about his bipolar disorder.

And then Lord, your child seemed like he was trying to return his first love…Your son Jesus…with his new Sunday Service. And yeah, I was a bit put off by the high-behind Sunday Service merch…(By the way, Lord, did you know that I was yesterday’s years old when I realized that ‘murch’ was actually ‘merch’ and short for merchandise. Why didn’t you reveal that to me sooner? All this time, when I would hear people saying ‘murch,’ I wanted to ask, ‘What is that?’ But I didn’t want to look stupid.) But on the other hand, nobody can force me to part with dollars unless that’s what I already wanted to do.

And then Lord, after your child took his Sunday Service on the road, he finally came to the capital of the Civil Rights, Atlanta, and brought his Sunday Service to New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. I didn’t make it, but I read the glowing reviews. I heard your child had folk waitin’ in line for hours just get into church. Ain’t that somethin’ Lord?! That’s what you been tryin’ get us to do. Spread the word that Jesus is King. But we are so disobedient some time…And by the way, thank You God, he no longer refers to himself as Yeezus. Lord, You stay forgiving us when we falter… Lord, your hashtag should be #GraceandMercy…I kid Lord, You know and I know You’re above all of that, but I know You’re cracking a smile because I’m one of your favorites…Just kidding…all your children are all blessed and highly favored…

And then Lord, your child acted like he didn’t even visit the civil rights capital of the world when he made some controversial statements following his visit…Your child New Birth Pastor Jamal Bryant, who once welcomed your child Kanye to New Birth, had some thangs to say ’bout that too…although his “Jesus Is King” album is spreading your word in a way that many other Christian artists aspire too…I mean, when was the last time You saw, “Jesus is King” as headline in the New York Times?!! (Here’s the exact headline…Kanye West’s ‘Jesus Is King’ Is No. 1)

And Lord, the American Bible Society has informed me that over 6,000 Bibles have been given away to Kanye fans!!! According to the society, his album generated more than a million queries on Google alone and prompted fans to search questions such as “What do Christians believe?” And now the American Bible Society will continue to give away free Bibles to Kanye fans through Nov. 22!!! Lord, I’m scratching my head on this one. What am I supposed to do with this? One one hand, he is making controversial statements that hurt the black community and on the other hand, he is reaching the masses for You…

And then as I was cooking this morning, I heard he performed in a prison on Friday and some of the prisoners became believers…(And You know that the average your child, me included, aine really standing in line to volunteer for the Prison Ministry)…I know You know this, but here’s the video anyway…

And in just a few hours, your child will be at Lakewood Church, which I’ve heard is the largest megachurch in the country…I just don’t know how I feel…

But although your child President Obama jokingly referred to your child Kanye as a “jacka$$,” it’s true that you definitely used a a talking donkey to convey your message in your Word

And then Lord, I know you also said that not everyone who calls your name really knows You

So…I’ma just end my prayer right here Lord. I’ma let You sort through it all. In summary, help me stay on the narrow way to Heaven because You know I want to wander off from time to time. And Lord, guide all of your children because You created them and know their ways and how they wander off. May we all make it there, some way, some how and some day…

Amen….

Any thoughts?