The Tennessee Human Rights Commission Remembers Two Civil Rights Leaders

Thursday, July 23, 2020 | 02:25pm

Our nation is mourning the loss of Congressman John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian, two trailblazers of the Civil Rights movement. Both leaders fought for freedom and equality for decades.

John Lewis who was often described as "one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” dedicated his life to protecting human rights and building a beloved community. Rev. C.T. Vivian is described as a spiritual leader, apostle of social justice and strategist of the Civil Rights movement.

We thank them for the tireless peaceful protests they organized in Nashville and across the country. While students at American Baptist Theological Seminary, Lewis and Vivian organized the sit-ins to desegregate lunch counters in Nashville.

We thank them for risking their lives as they marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama advocating for voting rights. We thank them for being Freedom Riders and risking their lives to desegregate buses in the south.

Lewis’ famous quote “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” will forever be etched in stone in the Civil Rights room at the Downtown Nashville Public Library. The quote is prominently displayed for us to ask ourselves these questions as we continue to fight for racial equality.

The Tennessee Human Rights Commission thanks these heroes for their decades of advocacy for civil rights, equality, freedom and making noise and getting in “good trouble” for justice for the country.