“I want to be remembered as a man who did his best for Memphis and Shelby County; a man who used his influence and the few dollars he had to give back to society; a man who served as a positive role model.”
Taking a look back at the career of Myron Lowery . . .
by Bobby Galluzzi
Myron Lowery came to Memphis in 1964 to attend Lemoyne-Owen College, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. He went on to achieve a Master of Science in Education from New York University and a Master of Science in Urban Education from the University of Tennessee, and holds an honorary degree from Southeastern College of Technology.
He worked as a full time news anchor for Channel 5 from 1971-1983. During his time reporting on Memphis City Hall, he was inspired to run for City Council, believing that he could make a positive difference. During his time serving on the City Council, he was elected Chairman five times.
Following the retirement of Mayor W.W. Herenton in 2009, Mr. Lowery became interim Mayor of Memphis. His time as Mayor Pro Tem was marked by his efforts to bring about transparency in government, including attempts to remove officials from former Mayor Herenton’s controversial prior administration. “It’s important to remember that we’re put on Earth for only a short period, and we’ve got to pave the way for others,” he says.
Mr. Lowery gained national news attention in September 2009 when he greeted visiting Tietan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, with a fist bump. Although he garnered some local criticism, the casual greeting (which had been pre-arranged) enjoyed a positive reception internationally. “His people knew it, he knew it, and that’s why he smiled. What people don’t know was that I met him three times on his visit here, and when he left, he reached out of the limousine and gave me a fist bump.” (The Commercial Appeal)
During his time in Memphis, Mr. Lowery has also served as a board member of the Tennessee Municipal League, Tennessee Quality, Goals for Memphis, Leadership Memphis, Goodwill Boys Club, The Memphis Zoo, the Headstart Policy Council, and the Board of Trustees of LeMoyne-Owen College.
He has also given his time to National organizations — he is a member of the Board of Directors for National League of Cities and has served as Vice-President of the National Association of Black Journalists and as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice- Chairman and Chairman of the Democratic Municipal Officials. In 1996, he was a speaker at the Democratic National Convention. Lowery is currently serving his fourth term as a member of the Democratic National Committee and is a member of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. He was the former treasurer of the United Negro College Fund’s National Alumni Council.
In July 2015, Lowery moved to unearth the remains of Civil War general Nathan Bedford Forest and his wife and have his memorial removed because: “It is no longer politically correct to glorify someone who was a slave trader, someone who was a racist, on public property.”
Myron Lowery in the Media
“As long as you’re living, there’s hope. There’s hope to do better. There are challenges to overcome. If you’re unemployed, you need to keep looking. You need to get an education. You need to do something different tomorrow than you did yesterday”