Rev. CT Vivian, Key Civil Rights Leader, Has Died at 95

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 19, 2020

According to the AP, he organized his first sit-in protests while studying theology at American Baptist College in Nashville. "You can turn your back now and you can keep your club in your hand, but you cannot beat down justice", Mr. Vivian told Clark.

That same year, he helped create the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference, an affiliate of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference that helped organize the city's first sit-ins and civil rights march. As Sheriff Jim Clark blocked the group, Vivian said in a fiery tone, "We will register to vote because as citizens of the United States we have the right to do it".

"He has always been one of the people who had the most insight, wisdom, integrity and dedication", said Andrew Young, who also worked alongside King.

Vivian died at home in Atlanta of natural causes on Friday morning, his friend and business partner Don Rivers confirmed to The Associated Press.

Vivian went on to become an active early member of the group that eventually became the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Clark responded to Vivian with a punch in the mouth, knocking him to the ground.

In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor.

"The passing of C.T. Vivian should cause us all to pause and celebrate the life and sacrifice of this giant", the Rev. Al Sharpton, an MSNBC host and founder of the National Action Network, said in a statement on Friday.

"Rev. C.T. Vivian. Courageous". Speaking with students in Tennessee 50 years after the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, he explained that the civil rights movement was effective because activists used strategies to make sure that their messages were amplified.

Vivian stood back up and kept talking before he was stitched up and jailed, and his mistreatment helped draw thousands of protesters, whose determination to march from Selma to Montgomery pressured Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act later that year.

"This is what made the movement: our voice was really heard", he said.

Vivian continued to serve in the SCLC after King's assassination in 1968, and became its interim president in 2012, lending renewed credibility and a tangible link to the civil rights era after the SCLC stagnated for years out of financial mismanagement and infighting. Vivian said they viewed the Center For Democratic Renewal as "the political side" of what they were doing with the SCLC, which was focused on the country's morality struggles during the civil rights movement. We learned how to solve social problems without violence. "Nonviolent direct action makes us successful. We can not allow the nation or the world to ever forget that".

Born in 1924 in Howard County, Missouri, Cordy Tindell Vivian moved to Macomb, Illinois, as a young boy. Then, "he just stopped eating", he said.

Over the course of his life, Vivian held numerous roles - pastor, editor for the Sunday School Publishing House of the National Baptist Convention USA, and dean of divinity at Shaw University Seminary in Raleigh, North Carolina. He briefly attended Western Illinois University before leaving to work at the Carver Community Center as assistant boy's director in Peoria.

Over the years, Vivian said he consulted with five presidents - Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Obama - on civil rights matters. "He was always giving, giving, giving".

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