In Memory of Civil Rights Icons

Remembering two of America’s civil rights leaders, Rev. C.T. Vivian and Rep. John Lewis. Honored by their nation for their dedication to the civil rights movement and fighting for racial equality in the past and present.

Rest In Power.

C.T. Vivian

1924–2020

C.T. Vivian served the civil rights movement as intellectual and strategist. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s trusted ally and field general went on to found educational and civil rights organizations and promote economic opportunity for all. He came to national attention in 1965 during efforts in Selma, Alabama to gain voting rights for disenfranchised Black residents. Punched in the mouth and knocked to the ground by a segregationist sheriff while speaking up for residents seeking to register to vote, Vivian got up and continued to speak. The encounter, caught by television cameras, brought the injustice of segregation home for Americans and before the year was out, Congress had passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


More Information and Resources

– Article by AJC 

– Article by NYT

C.T. Vivian Leadership Institute

The C.T. and Octavia Vivian Museum & Archives

Sign C.T. Vivian’s Online Memorial Guestbook

“I got down on my knees and said, ‘Thank you, Lord’ — not because I was alive, but because I had done what I should do, and I’d done it well. Even when I got knocked down, I stood back up. I’d stood up to the powers that be, and I did it nonviolently.”

— C.T. Vivian

John Lewis

1940–2020

John Lewis was a courageous foot soldier of the civil rights movement who went on to be known as the conscience of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was beaten and bloodied by Alabama State Troopers at the Edmund Pettis Bridge while leading a peaceful group of 600 attempting to march from Selma, Alabama to the state’s capital, Montgomery. Lewis spoke at the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. On the 50th anniversary of the march, John Lewis, by then a congressman from Georgia, and US Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, addressed a crowd at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.


More Information and Resources

– Obituary by AJC 

– Article by NYT

– Video Honoring John Lewis by One Atlanta

– John and Lillian Miles Lewis Foundation

– Celebration of Life Ceremony Details

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

— John Lewis

A Message from Bishop Rob Wright

We call what John Lewis and C.T. Vivian did civil rights work but that is too small a title. The Civil Rights movement was a word of God movement. Both of these bold and gentle men believed with their whole souls that all they did was about the worship of God and the fulfillment of the Great Commandment. Each believed they were following Jesus when they worked to include all in the American promise. Each inspired countless men and women for sixty years with their moral clarity and selflessness. We are a better nation and church for their faith and efforts. Both men now deserve their eternal rest and every praise we could heap on them.

Continuing Their Legacy

Show Your Support

Fight against racial injustice by supporting organizations like Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing.

Dismantling Racism Literature

This literature helps bring about understanding, which in turn raises awareness, making action more effective.

Recommended Documentaries

These films look at the history of racism in America, racial inequality, and the civil rights movement.

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