Hall Of Fame: Lasting Influence

Additions to Georgia Trend’s Most Influential Georgians Hall of Fame

Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery

Minister, Civil Rights leader


Age: 88

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

Bill Shipp



Age: 76

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


Spurgeon Richardson

Former President/CEO

Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau


Hank Aaron

Baseball Legend,


755 Restaurant Corp.

Mack Mattingly

Former U.S. Senator;

Former Assistant Secretary General (NATO);

Former U.S. Ambassador


Carl Patton

Former President

Georgia State University

Herman J. Russell


H.J. Russell & Company


A.D. “Pete” Correll

Former Chairman/CEO

Georgia-Pacific Corp.

Bernie Marcus


William S. Morris III


Morris Communications Co.


James Blanchard

Retired Board Chairman

Synovus Financial Corp.

Zell Miller

Senior Policy Advisor

McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP;

Former Governor,

U.S. Senator

Betty Siegel

Former President

Kennesaw State University


Tom Cousins

Former Board Chairman

Cousins Properties Inc.

Vince Dooley

Athletic Director Emeritus

University of Georgia


Tommy Irvin

Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture

Manuel Maloof


Longtime DeKalb County CEO and Commissioner

Sam Massell


Buckhead Coalition; Former Mayor, City of Atlanta

J. Mack Robinson

Businessman and Philanthropist

Ted Turner

Founder, CNN, TNT and TBS;

Environmentalist and Philanthropist


Jimmy Carter

Nobel Peace Prize winner; Former President

Rosalynn Carter

Former First Lady; Mental Health Advocate

Dr. Louis Sullivan

Founding Dean, Morehouse

School of Medicine; Former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services

Sam Nunn

Former U.S. Senator; National Defense Authority

Griffin Bell


Former U.S. Attorney General;

Former U.S. Circuit Court Judge

S. Truett Cathy

Founder, Chick-fil-A; Philanthropist

Andrew Young

Former Mayor, City of Atlanta;

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations;

Civic Leader

Carl Sanders

Former Governor; Attorney

John C. Portman


Developer and Entrepreneur

Thomas B. Murphy


Longtime Speaker,

Georgia House of Representatives

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