4:01 PM / Friday May 29, 2020

16 Aug 2010

Civil rights activist and celebrated lawyer Charles Bowser is dead at 79

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August 16, 2010 Category: Local Posted by:

Charles Bowser funeral arrangements: 

Pinn Memorial Baptist Church

54th & Wynnefield Ave., Philadelphia PA 19131

Monday: viewing at 4-8PM

Tuesday: viewing at 9-11AM, Funeral Service at 11AM


Charles W. Bowser, 79, respected lawyer, political pioneer and stellar civic leader, died last week from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease, which had been diagnosed about six years ago.


Mr. Bowser’s political leadership in the 1970s and 1980s, while greatly admired by tens of thousands who had voted for him in his two precedent setting runs for Mayor of Philadelphia, was just a small piece of the rich and varied legacy for which he will be fondly remembered.


A successful lawyer and entrepreneur in his later years, Mr. Bowser was a pioneering crusader against the poverty and poor schools which shortchanged the lives of so many of the city’s African American residents and he was unwavering advocate for truth and fairness as was seen in his early victories as an NAACP co-counsel and in 1985 when he spearheaded the special commission set up after the MOVE debacle which claimed 11 lives.


Mayor Michael Nutter issued the following statement upon learning of Mr. Bowser’s death:


“Charlie Bowser was a great man, a great lawyer, a friend to many, a leader of a movement that led not only to Black empowerment politically, socially and economically, but also brought Blacks, Whites, Latinos and Asians to a better understanding of our united power.



He gave me and many others wise advice, and whenever I saw my neighbor walking down the street or at his home, I knew that I was in the presence of greatness.


This city has suffered a great loss, but we would not be the great city that we are but for Charlie’s influence, insight and personal strength. The City and all of us are saddened by his passing, and we will keep his children, Charles Bowser, Jr. and Leslie Bowser Hope, and family in our prayers.”


Funeral arrangements were incomplete when the SUN went to press.

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