Dr. Joseph E. Lowery celebrates 90th birthday - CBS46 News

Dr. Joseph E. Lowery celebrates 90th birthday

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery celebrated his 90th birthday Sunday night at the Atlanta Symphony Hall in midtown Atlanta.

A star-studded birthday celebration for the living-legend featured big name guests like Stevie Wonder and Cicely Tyson.

Generations came out to honor the life of Lowery.

Many people said they attended the event simply to thank Lowery, who has been hailed as the "Dean of the civil rights movement."

"I'm so happy to see his work come to fruition, many didn't make it and he's still barking orders telling us what to do," Rev. Al Sharpton, of the National Action Network, said.

"He's made it through 90 years, Hell and hot water," Ambassador Andrew Young said.

"I'm a direct beneficiary of his work and so the fact I'm her as the 59th mayor is attributable to the fact that they broke down so many barriers for me," Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said.

Dr. Lowery's legacy of service and struggle was retold through song and dance. Lowery worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement.

Along his journey for human rights, Lowery marked a milestone in 2009 when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

"Let me thank everybody. There aren't words that will adequately express what's in my heart," Lowery told the audience.

Delta Airlines was one of several sponsors of the birthday event.

Delta announced an aircraft would be named after the civil rights icon.

Lowery's name will appear on the side of a Boeing 757.

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