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Monday, October 12, 2009 - 5:48am

Big Names Help Celebrate Rev. Lowery's Birthday

The Reverend Joseph Lowery celebrated his 88th birthday last night at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

The event featured civil rights icons as well as Aretha Franklin.

She was the highlight of a night that featured dancing, music and plays focusing on Reverend Lowery's life.

The $50-a-head ticket went to support the Joseph E. Lowery Institute for Justice and Human Rights.

Mildred Drayton says Dr. Lowery is an inspiration to youth today.

"Our kids just don't understand how difficult it was in the fifties and sixties," says Drayton. "And he is an epitome of that. And I just love that they are honoring him today."

Drayton was one of about 2,500 people to attend the event.

Reverend Lowery clearly enjoyed the night, at one point singing along and dancing to Aretha's Franklin's rendition of "Respect."