Civil rights icon the Rev. Joseph Lowery was released from a hospital Monday following a dizzy spell a day earlier as he greeted parishioners at the famed Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Lowery, 88, was the keynote speaker Sunday to mark Ebenezer’s 123rd anniversary. Called “America’s Freedom Church,” the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached there from 1960 until his death in 1968.
“I just got overheated,” Lowery told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his home. “The doctor did tell me to slow down, though. I’m going to slow down, but it’s hard. Nobody respects my retirement, and I don’t insist. You have to be grateful folks still want you around.”
Lowery had preached for about 40 minutes, said the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, senior pastor at Ebenezer.
“He was shaking hands and he just became a little weak and lost his balance,” Warnock said. “Within moments, he was able to respond to questions.”
Warnock said doctors in the congregation looked at Lowery before paramedics were called as a precaution. Warnock accompanied Lowery to the hospital.
“I think he just overdid it,” Warnock said.
Lowery was kept overnight for observation and left the hospital on Monday about 2 p.m., and he won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
He said he has plans to travel to Washington, D.C., on Thursday and to his native Alabama this weekend.
“I’m off and running,” he said. “People want you to help them, and I’m a chaplain of the common good.”
Lowery is a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and is known as the “Dean of the Civil Rights Movement.” Though he is officially retired from preaching, Lowery gave the benediction at President Barack Obama‘s inauguration in January and is still an activist today, championing voting and human rights.