C.T. Vivian Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom
Today, November 20th, sixteen people received the highest civilian honor given by the President of the United States. The Presidential Medal of Freedom was presented to a diverse group of individuals. As WABE’s Rose Scott reports, an Atlanta-based civil rights leader was among the honorees.
He was born Cordy Tindell Vivian.
But, throughout his involvement in the civil rights movement, he was known as C.T. Vivian.
Born in Howard, Missouri, Vivian began his work in civil rights as a student in Nashville.
He helped organize student sit-ins and rode on one of the first Freedom Buses that entered the South.
During the award ceremony, President Obama highlighted Rev. C.T. Vivian’s work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“C.T. Vivian was one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr.’s closest advisors. Martin taught us, he says, that it’s in the action that we find out who we really are. And time and again Rev. Vivian was among the first to be in the action.”
One of Vivian’s priorities has been building opportunities in education for African Americans.
He conceived a college scholarship initiative that later would be known as the Upward Bound program.
Now in his eighties, Rev. Vivian hasn’t slowed down.
In 2012 Vivian returned to the organization he first joined in 1961.
He became interim president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.