Rep. John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian

LMM Pays Tribute to The Conscience of Congress & The Lieutenant of the Civic Rights Movement

This week, the world lost two giants in the fight for equal rights. Congressman John Lewis and C.T.  Vivian dedicated their careers to fighting for civil rights and civic change. LMM respectfully pays tribute to their leadership.

Remembering Congressman John Lewis: Freedom Rider. Visionary Leader. One of the “Big Six”. An American Hero.

The acclaimed attributes of Congressman John Lewis are numerous, earnest and nothing less than remarkable. Congressman Lewis was a man who followed the philosophy of nonviolence, despite being subject to countless racially motivated attacks during his tenure as a civil rights leader. He was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, protesting noncompliance with busing desegregation across the Southern United States.

Lewis was an active leader of the Nashville Student Movement and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was one of the “Big Six” leaders who organized the March on Washington in 1963, and spoke alongside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was nearly killed on the Edmund Pettus Bridge that fateful “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, AL.

Lewis knew when the fight for civil rights needed a push or a pull. He was arrested more than 45 times for getting into “good trouble”, five of those arrests took place after he became a member of Congress. Lewis was also present when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was known as the Conscience of Congress, because he diligently served 17 terms and emphatically reminded our leaders to seek justice for the least among us and stressed that as Americans our vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in our democracy.

Celebrating C.T. Vivian: “The Greatest Preacher to Ever Live” – MLK

Rev. Cory Tindell “C.T.” Vivian was revered as a Lieutenant of the Civil Rights Movement. His life and legacy are the subject of many national publications and documentaries such as Eyes on the Prize, and The Healing Ministry of Dr. C.T. Vivian, because of his influence upon critical civil rights leaders including Dr. King, Congressman Lewis and many leaders in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

A founder of the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference and heavily involved in the SCLC, Rev. Vivian was one of Dr. King’s most trusted advisors. He supported, founded and led dozens of organizations that directed civil rights activities all across the country. Of note, Vivian founded an organization in Alabama called Vision, which later grew into the nationally renowned Upward Bound scholarship program, and the Black Action Strategies and Information Center in Atlanta, GA. Vivian was also a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a frequent presenter to the United Nations.

Inspired By their Lives & Legacies

LMM honors and celebrates the life and legacy of these great men because they believed in challenging the leaders of our country to hear the cries of the oppressed, forgotten and hurting. We are inspired and energized by their steadfast commitment to Micah 6:8; to seek justice, love mercy and serve with humility. After 50 years of fulfilling our mission, we seek that issues of systemic racism and injustice become a thing of the past. But we press boldly forward, determined to align our work with the legacy of men like John Lewis, Rev. C.T. Vivian and so many others started. We respectfully thank John Lewis and C.T. Vivian for being a bridge from the Civil Rights Movement to this moment in the history of our nation. We challenge ourselves to wear the mantle of social responsibility with the same level of self-sacrifice, prophetic courage and fearless commitment.