The Wednesday Chapel audience heard from Rev. Dr. CT Vivian on as he recounted his storied past as one of the very first Freedom Fighters. Today, Vivian is a minister, author and continued equality advocate. He was a close personal friend and adviser of Martin Luther King Jr., and his story is one that has impacted many lives.
Robert Darden, a professor of journalism, public relations and new media, interviewed a 91-year-old Vivian in a video seen during Chapel.
Darden is the director of Baylor’s Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, and said he has been inspired by Vivian’s work for most of his adult life. Rev. Dr. CT Vivian was a key player in paving the way for desegregation, and continues to pass on his legacy even today.
In addition to his history, Vivian discussed his thoughts on today’s race relations. Vivian emphasized that the most important lesson to be learned is the presence of love.
Vivian said King based his entire teachings on the concept of agape love. Agape love is “a motivation for action that we are free to choose or reject,” Vivian said.
“Martin Luther King had three things: he said we needed to finish racism, end war and end poverty,” Vivian said. “I still believe we have to conquer these three things above all else.”
Americans are not in a position to say they have made progress in race relations, Vivian said. He said he believes that today, the black church is just as dead as the white church, and that it is up to the people to stand up and fight justice without fear.
Maple Grove, Minn., freshman Caroline Griffith said her favorite part of the lecture was learning about Vivian’s connections to King.
“He had a very inspiring story and had some great input about racial problems in today’s era,” Griffith said. “And it was super cool how he worked with MLK.”
Ryan Richardson, Director of worship and chapel, said many people consider the days of King to be far behind them.
“It almost seems like another lifetime, but Rev. Dr. CT Vivian is five years older than MLK would be if he were here today,” Richardson said.
The reverend also shared some advice for Christians, hoping to encourage students to make a change.
“Simply going to church will not do,” Vivian said. “It’s in the action that we find ourselves.”
Vivian shared several stories about when he himself had been in the middle of the the Freedom Fighters movement, including when he was imprisoned and turned to face the barrel of a gun. Despite all this, Vivian said that he was not scared.
“I never was afraid. I had God,” Vivian explained. “We have much to learn, but we are worth saving.”