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C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash, and Bernard LaFayette lead protest march in Nashville, 1960. Credit: The Nashville Tennessean

Aerial view of Nashville march led by C.T. Vivian in 1960

Rev. C.T. Vivian stands behind Congressman John Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther King

Rev. C.T. Vivian

Enduring Questions: The Mark Collier Lecture Series

Wednesday, January 23 at 8 p.m.

Kleist Center for Art & Drama, 95 Bagley Road


Free and open to the public

Co-sponsored by the ML King Week Committee

Civil Rights Living Legend To Appear at BW as Part of Martin Luther King Week Observance

C.T. Vivian, one of the civil rights movement’s most revered figures, will take the stage this month in the third installment of the 2012-13 "Enduring Questions: The Mark Collier Lecture Series" at Baldwin Wallace University.

Rev. C.T. (Cordy Tindell) Vivian is scheduled to appear at BW on January 23 at 8 p.m. His lecture, at BW’s Kleist Center for Art & Drama, 95 E. Bagley Road in Berea, is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the ML King Week Committee. His address is a highlight of the many events planned to observe the ML King holiday.

The legendary, 88-year-old activist and Baptist minister says his mother and grandmother were determined that he become an educated, self-confident leader and continue the family’s progress from slavery, in spite of the loss of their husbands, the family farm to the Depression and a home to arson. As a small boy he migrated with his mother from rural Missouri to Macomb, Illinois, later earning a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University.

Sit-ins, Marches, Freedom Rides and Dr. King

While working as a community recreation director in Peoria, Vivian participated in his first non-violent action--a successful lunch counter sit-in in 1947. Later, he moved to Nashville to study at American Baptist College, and founded the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference, organizing the city's first sit-ins and civil rights march in the early 1960s.

Vivian was a rider on the first "Freedom Bus" into Jackson, Mississippi, and went on to work alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his Executive Staff in Birmingham, Selma, Chicago, Nashville, the March on Washington and beyond. The summer following the Selma Movement, Vivian conceived and directed an educational program, Vision, and put 702 Alabama students in college with scholarships. The program later became Upward Bound (with a chapter at BW).

Author, Advisor to Presidents and Heads of State

Over his distinguished career, Vivian has been asked to provide civil rights counsel to five different Presidential administrations -- Johnson, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Obama -- and has advised foreign heads of state. In 1970, Vivian authored the book Black Power and the American about the failings of the civil rights movement (Fortress Press of Philadelphia).

Vivian has resided in Atlanta, Georgia for more than three decades. Though ostensibly retired, he continues to work on behalf of the needy, including victims of Hurricane Katrina. In 2008, he founded the C.T. Vivian Leadership Institute, Inc. to “create a model leadership culture.”

Third of Four EQ Speakers

Vivian is the third of four luminaries to address the 2012-13 Enduring Questions theme of “Human Rights and Responsibilities: Who Decides?" The theme, examining global perspectives on human rights, will wrap up with an appearance by author Chris Abani on March 20. Imprisoned by the Nigerian government as a teenager for his writings, Abani is one of the most admired novelists in the world today, and an evocative speaker whose keynotes have been called “musical in their fluidity, heartbreak, and joy.”

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