Date: May 13, 2004
Contact: Michael Hopkins
Phone: (708) 534-7090
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
University Park, May 13, 2004 – Long-time civil rights activist Reverend C.T. Vivian will speak at Governors State University on Monday, May 17, at 3 p.m. in Sherman Music Recital Hall. The event marks to the day the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954, which unraveled the segregationist doctrine of separate but equal. For many, the decision signaled the start of the civil rights movement in the United States.
Vivian, an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, was appointed to the executive staff for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference by King in 1963. He appears at Governors State as part of the university’s commemoration of Brown.
Admission to C.T. Vivian’s speech is free and open to the public.
“Brown v. Board of Education is a watershed in our nation’s history,” said Dr. Roger Oden, dean of GSU’s College of Arts and Science. “Reverend C.T. Vivian was witness to the history that led to Brown. He played a central role in taking Brown beyond the Supreme Court and beyond the classroom. He carried its moral authority forward, with King, into every corner of American life. As a university, Governors State has the obligation to tell the history of the struggle and keep its message alive.”
University Provost Paul Keys added, “This man bared his soul in non-violent protest. Like so many in the struggle for civil rights, he suffered beatings and faced down raw murder, but he would not surrender to the violence. He was beaten in jail and out of jail by the ruling authorities, but he was not deterred.”
Dr. June Patton, program chair for Governors State’s Brown v. Board of Education Committee, said Vivian connected Illinois and the Chicago area to the national movement.
“Although born in Missouri, C. T. Vivian spent most of his youth and early adult life in Illinois where, by his own admission, his character was shaped, and he was prepared for the role that he assumed in the civil rights struggle,” Patton said. “Never losing sight of his roots, C. T. Vivian served as a lynch-pin between the national movement that emerged in the wake of the Brown decision and his adopted home state. Reverend Vivian brought his experiences in the broader context into play in addressing metropolitan Chicago and Illinois issues, thus connecting our region to the movement in significant ways. We take great pleasure in welcoming him home again.”
Vivian’s appearance at Governors State is sponsored by Governors State, the Chicago Far South Suburban NAACP, Global Chicago, and the Third World Conference Foundation.
For more information, contact Rhonda Jackson at 708-534-4101.