Hall Of Fame: Lasting Influence
Additions to Georgia Trend’s Most Influential Georgians Hall of Fame
Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery
Minister, Civil Rights leader
Joseph Lowery remains influential and relevant as he approaches 90, a venerable lion of the good fight.
The NAACP called Lowery the “dean of the Civil Rights movement.” A direct link to the roots of the movement, Lowery possesses “the consummate voice of biblical and social relevancy, a focused prophetic voice, speaking truth to power,” according to Ebony magazine.
Lowery shared his truth to a global audience last year when he delivered the benediction at Barack Obama’s historic presidential inauguration. Then, in August, he received the nation’s highest civilian honor when President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of a lifetime spent in nonviolent struggle for civil rights, peace and human dignity.
Lowery entered the fray early on, helping to lead the Montgomery bus boycott following Rosa Parks’ arrest in 1955, and heading up the Alabama Civic Affairs Association – a group focused on desegregating buses and public places. In 1957, he founded the Southern Christian Leadership Confer-ence (SCLC) with his friend and colleague, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., serving as president and CEO of the organization from 1977 to 1998.
He delivered the demands of the Selma-to-Montgomery March to Ala-bama Gov. George Wallace in 1965. The marchers were beaten by Wallace’s segregationists as the world watched. Thirty years later, during a re-enactment of the march, Wallace publicly welcomed Lowery and personally apologized for his actions.
As part of his 80th birthday celebration in 2001, Clark-Atlanta University established the Joseph E. Lowery Insti-tute for Justice and Human Rights, and Lowery still is in demand nationally as a speaker. – Jerry Grillo
When Bill Shipp launched his newsletter – Bill Shipp’s Georgia – on the Internet in 1994, he made the transition from traditional ink-stained wretch to new-age journalist. It was the beginning of the electronic age in written news, and Shipp was at the forefront with the first significant online political journal.
And when he quit writing his column last spring, it was the end of an era in journalism that he shaped and defined over half a century.
“Bill Shipp had a profound effect on journalism in our state,” Johnny Isak-son told his fellow U.S. senators following Shipp’s retirement.
For more than 50 years, Shipp covered politics in Georgia, his pen always capturing the pulse of the state. He worked for more than 30 years as a reporter and editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, then as an entrepreneurial journalist producing his own newsletter and syndicated columnist, and for a time, as an editor/columnist at this magazine.
As a reporter he covered some of the major events of the late 20th century, such as the Civil Rights movement, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the transition of the segregated old South into a new, commercially-vibrant South. He was a familiar face on Atlanta television. But he became best known as a clear-eyed political pundit who wrote the most influential column in the state.
“When he wrote a column, you went to the paper and you read Bill Shipp first,” Isakson said on the floor of the U.S. Senate. “If you were going to be the victim of the day, you might as well go out and find out what he was going to say about you. But if you were not the victim of the day, you could relish in seeing some other politician being skewered by that pen.” – Jerry Grillo
Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau
755 Restaurant Corp.
Former U.S. Senator;
Former Assistant Secretary General (NATO);
Former U.S. Ambassador
Georgia State University
Herman J. Russell
H.J. Russell & Company
A.D. “Pete” Correll
William S. Morris III
Morris Communications Co.
Retired Board Chairman
Synovus Financial Corp.
Senior Policy Advisor
McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP;
Kennesaw State University
Former Board Chairman
Cousins Properties Inc.
Athletic Director Emeritus
University of Georgia
Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture
Longtime DeKalb County CEO and Commissioner
Buckhead Coalition; Former Mayor, City of Atlanta
J. Mack Robinson
Businessman and Philanthropist
Founder, CNN, TNT and TBS;
Environmentalist and Philanthropist
Nobel Peace Prize winner; Former President
Former First Lady; Mental Health Advocate
Dr. Louis Sullivan
Founding Dean, Morehouse
School of Medicine; Former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services
Former U.S. Senator; National Defense Authority
Former U.S. Attorney General;
Former U.S. Circuit Court Judge
S. Truett Cathy
Founder, Chick-fil-A; Philanthropist
Former Mayor, City of Atlanta;
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations;
Former Governor; Attorney
John C. Portman
Developer and Entrepreneur
Thomas B. Murphy
Georgia House of Representatives