Remembering an American Hero and Civil Rights Icon — Reverend C.T. Vivian
The Operation HOPE family is saddened at the loss of Civil Rights giant and icon, Rev. C.T. Vivian. On behalf of our Founder, Chairman, and CEO, John Hope Bryant, his wife Chaitra Dalton Bryant, and the Operation HOPE and The Promise Homes Company families, we extend our sincerest condolences to his children, extended family, friends, loved ones, and the countless lives that he has touched over the years working for equal rights for all.
Rev. Vivian was a fierce contender for civil rights and fought alongside the likes of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ambassador Andrew Young. He founded the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference, an affiliate of Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and later went on to become the SCLC’s director of national affiliates. In the 1970s, Rev. Vivian founded the National Anti-Klan Network, whose focus was to monitor the activities of the Ku Klux Klan and serve as the proactive political arm, of sorts, for the SCLC.
As the fight for inclusion and opportunity continued beyond the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s, Rev. Vivian became an advocate and ally of Operation HOPE and the Silver Rights Movement, whose mission is to provide equity and opportunity for all through a solid foundation of financial literacy and economic empowerment through inclusion. Always humble, sharp, and amiable, Rev. Vivian could often be seen at the Operation HOPE headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia with his good friend Ambassador Young, and at the HOPE Global Forums and Annual Meeting. He never hesitated to inspire, encourage, and admonish the next generation of freedom fighters to continue the fight for financial dignity in the 21st century, following Chairman Bryant’s lead and vision to take the Movement “from the streets to the suites”.
As a proponent of the Silver Rights Movement and its implications for the community he loved, Reverend Vivian was particularly taken by one of Chairman Bryant’s popular books, How the Poor Can Save Capitalism. The pair enjoyed insightful discourse on the future of economic vitality within marginalized communities and had an opportunity to share sacred moments together at the renaming ceremony of the Treasury Annex building to the Freedman’s Bank building — an historic and symbolic occasion for economic freedom in America.
In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded Rev. Vivian the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the nation, and was honored at the 2016 HOPE Global Forum with the HOPE Founding Civil Rights to Silver Rights Award for his life’s work and positive effect on both basic human dignity and global economic growth.
We salute Rev. Vivian for his life of service and are honored to stand on the shoulders of such a noble man and model American citizen.
We invite you to glean a few pearls of wisdom, gained through experience, by watching Chairman Bryant’s fireside chat with Rev. Vivian at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church during the 2016 HOPE Global Forums. Click here to view.
Also, enjoy pictures of Rev. C.T. Vivian with Chairman Bryant and the HOPE Family here.