C. T. Vivian receives 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom

PEORIA – State Senator Dave Koehler issued the following statement Friday after news of the death of Peoria civil rights icon C.T. Vivian:

“Rev. C.T. Vivian was a pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement and gave pride to all Peorians because of his Peoria roots. I met him years ago when he spoke in Peoria and came away in awe of his dedication and insight on where we need to be headed as a nation. I thank God for the life of this dedicated man. We need to continue his memory to help inspire future generations.”

C.T. Vivian was a civil rights activist whom Martin Luther King Jr. once described as “the greatest preacher to ever live.” Vivian’s career began in Peoria, where he was hired to work for the Carver Community Center. While at Carver Community Center, Vivian participated in his first civil rights sit-in, where he successfully integrated Barton’s Cafeteria.

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