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Macomb to honor civil rights leader Saturday
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Macomb to honor civil rights leader Saturday

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CT Vivian Memorial

Mourners march to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park during a memorial service for Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian in Atlanta in July. The city of Macomb is honoring Vivian, a one-time resident of the city, in a ceremony Saturday.

City and community leaders in Macomb, Illinois, announced Wednesday the public is invited to attend an event Saturday to honor Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian, a civil rights leader and one-time Macomb resident who passed away July 17 at age 95.

The city, the McDonough County branch of the NAACP, along with Gregg Huston and Raleigh Mitchell — representing the Legacy Black community of Macomb — will hold a public event on Vivian's childhood home site, 630 E. Adams St., Macomb.

The event, which runs from 2 to 4 p.m., will include the unveiling of an Illinois State Historical Society Marker denoting Vivian's legacy and connection to Macomb; the unveiling of an honorary street designation, C.T. Vivian Way; and a program of music and presentations by community members celebrating Vivan's contributions to the civil rights movement.

"We are so proud and grateful to be able to honor Dr. C.T. Vivian's legacy in this manner and also officially designate his childhood homestead as a state historical site," Macomb Mayor Michael Inman said.

All Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols will be in place, including the required wearing of face coverings and social distancing.

Vivian was a Baptist minister and was an early and key adviser to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s. Vivian organized pivotal civil rights campaigns and spent decades advocating for justice and equality.

His family moved to Macomb from Boonville, Missouri, when Vivian was 6, and he later studied history at Western Illinois University but dropped out and became a recreation worker in Peoria, Illinois, where he joined his first protest to help desegregate a cafeteria.

Vivian received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2013.

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