On Nov. 20 President Barack Obama awarded 16 people with the nations highest civilian honor: the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
According to the Executive Order 11085, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded to people with “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
“The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours,” Obama said.
“This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”
Cordy Tindell “CT” Vivian, a minister, author, and a close friend of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the 16 recipients. Vivian is also an alum of the nation’s newest HBCU, American Baptist College.
When honoring him Obama said, “We salute pioneers who pushed our nation towards greater justice and equality. Baptist minister, CT Vivian, was one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s closest advisers….Vivian was one of the first to be in the action.”
Obama went further to say, “Rosa Parks said of him, ‘even after things have been supposedly taken care of and we had our rights, he was still out there inspiring the next generation’.”
At 89 years old he is still out there making sure our nation reaches its ideals, said Obama.
After his name was called it was said in a White House citation, “Equipped only with courage and overwhelming commitment to social justice, the Rev. CT Vivian was a stalwart activist on the march toward racial equality. Whether at a lunch counter, on a Freedom Ride, or behind the bars of a prison cell, he was unafraid to take bold action in the face of fierce resistance.”
The President of American Baptist College, Dr. Forrest E Harris Sr., announced Tuesday that CT Vivian will be honored at the college’s Garnett-Nabrit Lecture series in March of 2014.