Ex-Civil Rights Leader Calls for More Black Votes SCLC Founder Speaks at Rally for Ex-Rep.Tony Hill

Article excerpt

Byline: Rich Tucker, Times-Union staff writer

Veteran civil rights leader the Rev. Joseph Lowery brought his booming voice and empowering message to a Northside church yesterday, calling for more black citizens to vote and take an active interest in their government.

He spoke to an audience of about 100 gathered at a campaign rally for former state Rep. Tony Hill, who is running against Rep. Denise Lee for the Florida Senate.

Lowery, 80, fought side by side with other civil rights icons like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.

In the 1960s, he was part of an alliance of Southern ministers who joined forces in the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama and refused to abide by the city's policy of forcing blacks to the rear of the bus.

From that boycott emerged the Southern Christian Leadership Council, whose marches and defiance of segregation laws helped bring the civil rights movement to the nation's collective attention.

In addition to his calls yesterday for improved black voter turnout, Lowery warned about the dangers of the U.S. government infringing on citizens' rights using the Sept. …