plagues of war, poverty and racism that King fought against at SCLC’s height.
Ambassador Andrew Young, who also worked alongside King in SCLC, said Vivian’s appointment could not be more appropriate. “He has always been one of the people who had the most insight, wisdom, integrity and dedication,” said Young, who turns 80 in March. “The amazing thing is that C.T.’s still got the energy and vitality and the clarity of thought to be a big help. It’s the best thing that’s happened to SCLC since I left.”
As a young theology student in Nashville, Tenn., Vivian helped organize the first sit-ins in that city, and later participated in the Freedom Rides in Mississippi. Under King’s leadership at SCLC, Vivian served as the national director of affiliates. After King’s death in 1968, he continued to fight for equality and diversity, and has served on SCLC’s board of directors.
In the 55 years since SCLC’s founding, Vivian points out that the strategy of nonviolent direct action has not been implemented as effectively by any other group. His aim is for SCLC to be among the groups at the forefront of driving home the need for the strategy again today.
“There must always been the understanding of what Martin had in mind for this organization,” Vivian said. “Nonviolent, direct action makes us successful. We learned how to solve social problems without violence. We cannot allow the nation or the world to ever forget that.”