In every man’s life, there is a day of destiny.
Joseph Echols Lowery’s came on a bright summer day in 1933, when he was only 11.
As he stepped out of his father’s candy store in Huntsville, Alabama, a white police officer walked up.
“He hit me in the belly and said, ‘Get back, (N-word). Don’t you see a white man coming in?’ ” the Rev. Lowery recalled in a 2001 Atlanta Journal-Constitution interview. “I went home and looked for my father’s pearl-handled .32. I got it and was gonna look for that cop.”
But as he got to the porch, his father, LeRoy Lowery, appeared and asked why he was crying. His father took the gun and gave him a lecture.
“I had never seen my father at home during the day, except on Sundays,” Lowery said. “I don’t know why he came home that day. But I am glad he did.”
But for that, Lowery said, he probably would have been beaten, jailed or lynched that afternoon.