Remembering Lumbee Musician, Educator, And Activist Willie French Lowery

Willie French Lowery was born in 1944 in Robeson County, N.C. During his career, he published over 500 songs and his groups “Plant and See” and “Lumbee” toured with the likes of the Allman Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, and Canned Heat. Beyond his musical prowess, Lowery was a pillar of North Carolina’s Lumbee community, serving as an activist, educator, and tradition-bearer of his tribe’s heritage. Lowery wrote the music for the tribe’s beloved outdoor drama Strike at the Wind, which chronicles the story of Henry Berry Lowery, and he penned what many Lumbee think of as their community’s national anthem “Proud to be a Lumbee.”

Charly Lowry noted his significance to their community during her recent Music at the Mansion performance, telling the crowd, “He was really the first artist that we saw have these opportunities, and that let us know we could have the same opportunities.” She then led her band in a powerful rendition of his hit song, “Streets of Gold.” Hear for yourself below.

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