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Remembering John Lewis & Rev. C.T. Vivian

Friday, Jul. 17, 2020 was the loss of two remarkable humans. John Lewis and Reverend C.T. Vivian were among the many civil rights activists who have sacrificed their lives for justice for essential rights for the Black community. Lewis lost his battle to stage four pancreatic cancer and Rev. Vivian due to natural causes. The pair are pure demonstrators of what it means to truly put everything on the line for equality despite violence and fear.

Lewis participated in numerous civil rights protests and demonstrations such as sit-ins, marches, and the Freedom Riders. At the historical walk in Selma, Lewis was leading a march for voting rights. The march took place on the Edmund Pettus Bridge where Lewis has stated he has “no clue how he got across the bridge” after going unconscious from police hitting the protestors with clubs. This event today is known as “Bloody Sunday” on Mar 7, 1965. He was only 25 years old when he explains he “saw death”. He was also one of the “Big Six” in the March on Washington. 

His activism did anything but deter him. Lewis served as a U.S. representative for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District for over three decades. Lewis is known for having extremely moving speeches. For someone who was born into a segregated town in Troy, Alabama, his longterm service for basic human rights will never be forgotten.

Cordy Tindell or Reverend C.T. Vivian always valued religion in his life and attended American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee in 1955. Ten years later he was recognized as the director of national affiliates for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Rev. Vivian participated in various civil rights activities including Selma as well, where he was leading a group to register to vote and was physically abused by a sheriff while cameras were rolling. He utilized his love for ministry by infiltrating communities with the college preparatory program, 'Vision' to help students who were kicked out of school for protesting, and is the founder of the Center for Democratic Renewal, a national Anti-Klan organization. 

Both of these men will forever remain profound examples of warriors for the Civil Rights Movement and have fought literally for their lives and the freedom for others. Not to mention they both served alongside Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. in different ways; Vivian was coined by Dr.King himself as “the greatest preacher to ever live” while Lewis was with Dr.King for his notorious “I Have a Dream” speech. Both are revered figures for the fight for civil rights that is a continuing fight. Lewis was 80 and Vivan was 95; may they rest in peace. 

Balcomb, T. (Host). (2020, July 20). The Life and Legacy of John Lewis. [Audio Podcast

Episode]. In The Daily. Daily News.

Goodman, Amy. (2020, July 20). Remembering C. T. Vivian, Civil Rights Icon MLK Called,

“Greatest Preacher to Ever Live”. Democracy Now.

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