C.T. Vivian's family moved from segregated Missouri to Macomb when he was young because his parents felt he would receive a better education in a university community. Now that community's school district plans to honor the civil rights activist for his lifetime of achievement.
The district announced this week the library at Macomb Junior-Senior High will be named after Dr. Vivian.
“As you listen to Dr. Vivian, he will say over and over again how important his education was. And I think nothing screams education and knowledge more than a library,” said Superintendent Mark Twomey.
The superintendent said Vivian will be present in early October when the naming ceremony is held. Vivian is already planning to be in town at that time to participate in homecoming activities at Western Illinois University.
Vivian moved in the 1940s to Peoria, where he helped integrate a cafeteria. He later helped organize sit-ins in Nashville, Tennessee, rode the Freedom Bus to Jackson, Mississippi, and worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s.
In August, 2013, President Barack Obama named Vivian a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor given in the U.S.
During an interview with Tri States Public Radio in May, 2012, Vivian said the world does not change unless people get involved.
“Church is all right for Sunday morning and I'm a minister so I'm not throwing against church,” Vivian said. “But to sit there isn't enough. You're really going to learn what the faith is in the action in the street, in the doing. It's not going to come in the listening.”
Vivian turned 91 Thursday (July 30).
Board Losing a Member
Also during the Macomb Board of Education’s July meeting, Vice President Jude Kiah said he will leave Western Illinois University for a job at Xavier University in Cincinnati.
However, he is not resigning from the board immediately. Kiah said his family will remain in Macomb for a while and he will return to town frequently, so he will remain on the board to buy the district time in finding someone else to serve.
“It might be two weeks, it might be a month or two or whatever. But I’m willing to do it. There’s no reason I couldn’t do it. We’ll make it work for now until they can identify them and then I’ll formally resign,” said Kiah, adding he will attend meetings via Skype if need be.
The board has not determined the process for selecting Kiah’s replacement.