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Rev. C.T. Vivian, Freedom Rides organizer and key adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., dies at 95

Free Press wire reports | 7/23/2020, 6 p.m.
The Rev. C.T. Vivian, an early and key adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who organized pivotal civil rights ...
Rev. Vivian

Rev. Vivian continued to serve in the SCLC after Dr. King’s assassination in 1968, and became its interim president in 2012, lending renewed credibility after the organization stagnated for years. He also co- founded VISION, the precursor to Outward Bound; the Center for Democratic Renewal; and a consulting firm that encouraged improvements in race relations.

Rev. Vivian died at home in Atlanta of natural causes, his friend and business partner Don Rivers confirmed. Rev. Vivian had a stroke about two months ago but seemed to recover, Mr. Rivers said. Then, “he just stopped eating,” he said.

Mr. Rivers, 67, said he was 21 when he met Rev. Vivian at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. Back then, he worked as

an audio director when Rev. Vivian was the dean of the university’s divinity school. The two remained close over the years and Mr. Rivers said he handled the business side of Rev. Vivian’s work.

“He’s such a nice, gentle, courageous man,” Mr. Rivers said, adding that the reverend wasn’t in it for the money. “He was always giving, giving, giving.”

A funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, July 23, at Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, and is to be will be streamed live online and broadcast by WSB-TV in Atlanta at WSBTV.com. The in-person service will be open only to family because of the coronavirus.