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Rev. Joseph Lowery celebrates 90th birthday

7:17 AM, Oct 10, 2011   |    comments
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Rev. Joseph Lowery at his 90th birthday celebration

ATLANTA -- Celebrities and dignitaries crowded into the Woodruff Arts Center Sunday night to pay tribute to civil right icon Rev. Joseph Lowery who is celebrating his 90th birthday.

The event was entitled "His Words, Our Gift" and featured music, drama, dance and his own words spoken from actors.

PHOTO GALLERY: Rev. Lowery's 90th Birthday Party

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, directed by Dr. Henry Panion III, played throughout the presentation.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed welcomed the crowd, saying he was "a direct beneficiary of Dr. Lowery's achievements."

Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson announced the dedication of a 757 that bears Lowery's signature.  The plane will carry him to the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument dedication in Washington, D.C. next week.

Singer Jennifer Holliday wowed the crowd with her rendition of "Come Sunday" and actress Cicely Tyson paid tribute to Lowery's wife Evelyn with a narration.

Videotaped birthday wishes came from President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou and President Jimmy Carter, among others.

Singer Lady Tramaine Hawkins brought the crowd to its feet with both "Changed" and "Oh Happy Day," then Stevie Wonder performed a number of songs, including a rousing version of "Happy Birthday" when the Lowerys were brought to the stage.

On the red carpet before the program, Dr. Lowery was asked what he considers his proudest moment, and with his trademark smile he replied, "I've lived to be 90.  That's the proudest thing I can think of ... and having my family sharing in this moment with me."

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