A young C.T. Vivian preaches in front of a sheriff officer in this black and white photo from

C.T. Vivian, leads a prayer on the steps of the the courthouse in Selma, Ala., in February 1965. Days later, during a similar confrontation, Sheriff Jim Clark (right) punched Vivian to the ground. Vivian would get up and continue speaking.

Credit: Horace Cort, AP

Thursday on Political Rewind: It has been nearly one year since the passing of two of the country’s greatest civil rights leaders. One of them, Rep. John Lewis, was a man whose name was known around the world. The other was C.T. Vivian, whose courage and leadership played a key role during crucial moments of the civil rights movement.

Vivian was among those who risked death on the Freedom Rides, and he worked closely with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Birmingham, St. Augustine and other cities across the nation.   

Now, a new memoir recounts C.T. Vivian’s life across many decades of activism. We spoke to the co-author of It’s In The Action: Memories Of A Nonviolent Warrior and to Vivian’s son Al, who has carried on the legacy of his father’s work.


Steve Fiffer – Co-Author, It's in the Action: Memories of a Nonviolent Warrior

Kevin Riley – Editor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

Al Vivian – President and CEO, Basic Diversity, Inc.

C.T. Vivian in his home in 2015.

The Rev. C.T. Vivian, seen in a 2012 portrait at his Atlanta home.

Credit: David Goldman, AP

C.T. Vivian speaks to a soldier on a bus.

Traveling with Freedom Riders on historic ride from Montgomery to Jackson, MS, Rev. C.T. Vivian (center) confronts a police officer.

Credit: Lee Lockwood, The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

C.T. Vivian marches down the street in Nashville in 1960.

In this 1960 photo, Rev. C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash and demonstrators head toward Nashville City Hall.

Credit: Jack Corn, USA Today

C.T. Vivian receives a medal from former President Barack Obama.

C.T. Vivian received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from then-President Barack Obama in 2013.

Credit: Win McNamee, Getty Images

C.T. Vivian and other civil rights demonstrators stand on a beach in St. Augustine, Fl. with white counter-protestors standing nearby.

Rev. C.T. Vivian and many local demonstrators protest against segregated beaches in St. Augustine, Fla.

Credit: State Archives of Florida