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On July 17, 2020, Reverend Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, a civil rights activist and hero passed away. Rev. Vivian was 95-years-old when he took his last breath inside his home in Atlanta, Georgia. Two of the reverend’s daughters, Denise Morse and Kira Vivian, confirmed the sad news of his death.
According to his daughter Morse, Vivian was under the care of hospice during his final days. According to reports, Vivian passed away around 3 a.m. after which his daughter (Kira) started the grueling processes of telling all the rest of the family about the tragic news.
Unfortunately, she was about halfway through the day when she received the call about the family friend, Congressman-Representative John Lewis, who had passed away as well. Lewis and Vivian were friends who fought the same fight, equal civil rights for all. Lewis was 80 years old when he lost his battle with cancer.
Born Activist the Uphill Climb
Vivian was born in Missouri and was raised in Illinois. He took part in his first civil rights protest in Peoria, Illinois, in 1947 at a lunchtime sit-in. It was not long after that when he began organizing his own peaceful protests, boycotts, marches, and sit-ins.
Reverend Vivian traveled all across the United States organizing his protests, including Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi. It was in 1965 when Vivian led a group of roughly 100 people to vote, only to be blocked off by the local sheriff. It was at that time Vivian confronted the sheriff.
“What you’re really trying to do is intimidate these people and by making them stand in the rain keep them from registering to vote.” Vivian proceeded to inform the sheriff that he was violating their constitutional rights.
When Vivian told Selma’s local sheriff, James G, Clark, there was nothing he could do about them going in to register. In response, the sheriff began to beat Vivian. Afterwhich he arrested him for criminal provocation.
Civil Rights Now – End Racism
Lewis was born in Alabama and spent many decades peacefully fighting for civil rights. By Lewis’s own admission he had been arrested over 40 times while demonstrating against social and racial injustice. Lewis worked alongside Martian Luther King Jr, with Vivian.
In a previous interview, the congressman mentioned how he was amazed at how much his generation was able to accomplish. “But I felt when we were sitting in at those lunch counter stools, or going on the Freedom Ride, or marching from Selma to Montgomery, there was a power and a force.”
Lewis continued on by saying that it felt like, “God Almighty was there with us.” The congressman was angered by the unfairness of the Jim Crow South. He used this anger to launch what he referred to as “good trouble” – peaceful protesting.
Just like Vivian, Lewis had met the blunt end of a baton a time or two in his time. However, none of the beatings deterred the men from fighting for what they believed and knew to be right. The two activists made waves in the pond as they paved the way for future generations.
They were both equally loved by all who knew them and will truly be missed. Rev. Vivian and Congressman Lewis are survived by their family and friends. May they both rest in peace.
Written by Sheena Robertson
People: Civil Rights Leader Rev. C.T. Vivian Dies at 95: ‘We’ve Lost a Founder of Modern America’
CNN: Civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis dead at 80
The New York Times: C.T. Vivian, Martin Luther King’s Field General, Dies at 95
Britannica: John Lewis
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