Let Freedom Ring

Religious Education at the Intersection of Social Justice, Liberation, and Civil/Human Rights

REA Annual Meeting 2012

2-4, November, Atlanta, Georgia

Banquet Speaker

Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian

Saturday, November 3, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Minister, author, and close friend and lieutenant of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Dr. C. T. Vivian was one of the civil rights movement’s most respected and revered figures.

A Baptist minister, he saw no separation between civil rights, faith and ministry because “racism is a moral issue.” His first use of non-violent direct action was in 1947, to end Peoria’s segregated lunch counters. In 1955, he and other ministers founded the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference, an affiliate of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The group organized and trained students to embark on a movement to end segregation in Nashville. The Nashville affiliate organized the city’s first sit-ins in 1960 and led the first march of the Civil Rights Movement.

In 1961, he joined Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) members and other ministers to continue the Freedom Rides into Jackson, Miss. after a group from the Congress of Racial Equality disbanded. The SNCC group was arrested and Vivian was badly beaten at Parchman Prison. As an SCLC strategist, he worked to help get the Civil Rights Bill and Voting Rights Acts passed. In 1965, he famously confronted Sheriff Jim Clark on the steps of Selma’s courthouse while leading blacks to register to vote.

He was named director of Southern Christian Leadership Conference affiliates in 1963, and later founded and led several civil rights organizations, including Vision (which later became Upward Bound), the National Anti-Klan Network, the Center of Democratic Renewal and Black Action Strategies and Information Center. He has provided civil rights counsel to Presidents Johnson, Carter, Reagan and Clinton and continues to lecture on racial justice and democracy.  We are honored to have Rev. C.T. Vivian as our 2012 Banquet Speaker.

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