North America's Strongest Union

Hoffa Statement on Passing of Rev. Joseph E. Lowery

On behalf of the 1.4 million members of the Teamsters Union, I want to send my deepest condolences to the friends, family and followers of Rev. Joseph E. Lowery on his passing. As the "dean of the civil rights movement," Rev. Lowery was one of our country's most beloved preachers and human rights activists. He was also a monumental part of our labor community. 

For more than half a century, Rev. Lowery fought for millions of working people across America. When workers needed a guiding voice, he always answered the call, marching alongside countless Teamster brothers and sisters throughout the years, in Atlanta and throughout the country.

In 1991, Rev. Lowery and his wife, Evelyn, dedicated a historical marker honoring Viola Liuzzo, the wife of a Detroit Teamster business agent, at the site of her murder following the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. Liuzzo was killed by members of the KKK as she drove demonstrators back to Selma from Montgomery.

Rev. Lowery knew civil rights and workers' rights are one and the same—two movements with the same goal. He strongly believed in the power of labor unions and the importance of worker activism. His voice and leadership will be deeply missed. As Teamsters, we will continue to live by his words and uphold the values he courageously championed through volatile times in our nation’s history.