Vivian, C. T.


Born July 28, 1924 in Booneville, Missouri, Vivian moved with his family to Macomb, Illinois when he was six years old. After graduating from Macomb High School in 1942, he enrolled at Western Illinois University earning a bachelor's degree in history. While working as a community recreation director in Peoria, Illinois, Vivian participated in a successful lunch counter sit-in in 1947. In 1959, Vivian moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to study for the ministry at American Baptist College where he became acquainted with James Lawson and the nonviolent direct action strategies of the Nashville Student Movement. In early 1960, Vivian joined Diane Nash, James Forman, John Lewis and other students from local universities as they staged sit-ins and other nonviolent protests throughout the city. In 1961, Vivian was among the ten Nashville students who replaced injured Freedom Ride participants. In 1963, King invited Vivian to join the executive staff of the SCLC as the director of affiliates. In this capacity, Vivian coordinated the activities of local civil rights groups nationwide. He also advised King and organized demonstrations during campaigns in Birmingham, St. Augustine and Selma. In 1966, Vivian left the SCLC and moved to Chicago to direct the Urban Training Center for Christian Mission and the Coalition for United Community Action. He later founded the Black Strategies and Information Center, the National Center for Human Rights Education and the Center for Democratic Renewal, formerly the National Anti-Klan Network. From:

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