Civil Rights Pioneers and Icons, John Lewis, Dies at 80 and C.T. Vivian Dies at 95
Civil Rights Pioneer and Icon, John Lewis, Dies at 80
In the midst of a modern-day civil rights movement, birthed from the death of George Floyd, we have lost a civil rights pioneer. John Lewis endured more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries all the while remaining a devoted advocate to the philosophy of nonviolence.
He never left the frontlines of getting in “good trouble” when it came to standing for civil rights. He dedicated every inch of his life to fighting injustice of all kinds from the streets to the halls of Congress.
The son of sharecroppers, Lewis was born on February 21, 1940, outside of Troy, Alabama. He grew up on his family’s farm and attended segregated public schools in Pike County, Alabama. In his youth, he was inspired by the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to become an activist.
As a student at Fisk University, Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters and volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. He risked his life and took severe beatings by angry mobs and arrested by police for challenging the injustice of Jim Crow segregation in the South.
Legendary Civil Rights Icon C.T. Vivian Dies at 95
The Rev. C.T. Vivian, the legendary civil rights activist who marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has died.
Rev. Vivian was 95.
Vivian’s daughter, Denise Morse, confirmed her father’s death and told Atlanta’s NBC affiliate WXIA that he was “one of the most wonderful men who ever walked the earth.”
Vivian reportedly suffered a stroke earlier this year, but his family said he died of natural causes.
“He has always been one of the people who had the most insight, wisdom, integrity, and dedication,” said former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, a contemporary of Vivian who also worked alongside King.
“The Reverend Dr. C.T. Vivian was one of my strongest mentors in the Civil Rights Movement,” National Newspaper Publishers Association President Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., stated.
“Rev. Vivian, like Martin Luther King, Jr, and Joseph Lowery was a visionary theologian, genius, and a leading force in the tactical and strategic planning of effective nonviolent civil disobedience demonstrations. C.T. has passed the eternal baton to a new generation of civil rights agitators and organizers.