If leaders lead by example, then Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian is a prime example of the well-deserved Legendary Award. And, as a leader, he became the 2017 recipient of the Pioneer Award.
A road well traveled, the Rev. Dr. Vivan has been through a lot and seen a lot in his 92-years of existence, blazing trails and taking names on his civil rights journey. Along the way he has garnered critics and admirers alike, but none would ever label him a quitter. Fighter is more like it, but it all has resulted in pioneering good causes.
Originally from Howard, Mo. and migrating to Macomb, Ill. as a young boy, he made his home in Atlanta, Ga. in the early 70’s. He has always managed to keep a spiritual air about him in order to effectively rally for the underdog. This meant wandering into dangerous territories such as Klan territory, partaking in Freedom Rides and sit-ins across the country, not just the south. Perhaps it was his wide vision of what must be as opposed to what was status quo at the time, finding associations with Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Diane Nash and James Bevel.
Rev. Dr. Vivian’s history alone is rich and fruitful. Not only is he a minister, author, organizer and member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, he is also the founder of the C.T. Vivian Leadership Institute, an Atlanta-based non-profit organization dedicated to the development and sustainability of communities. The recipient of numerous awards and participant in many causes, he was recognized by President Barack Obama as “the greatest preacher to ever live” in 2007. You could say he built his work from the ground up with no examples or mentors to advise him, but is one of the most sought after persons in history. His voice, even after so many years, is still active and is lucid to have opinions of where this world is going and especially about who is leading us now.
This is what makes Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian a leader, and for the 2017 Legendary Awards their recipient for the Pioneer Award.
- Joseph Walker, III