( ENSPIRE Features ) From Boyhood to a Civil Rights Icon, C. T. Vivian’s New Memoir It’s in the Action Tells All
ENSPIRE Contributor: Kate Newman
Legendary nonviolent warrior of the civil rights movement, C. T. Vivian’s new memoir was published on March 9th of this year. Written in Vivian’s own words with the help of Steve Fiffer, the book titled It’s in the Action will cover decades of his life’s work involving the civil rights movement and the fight for social justice.
Passing peacefully earlier this year at 95, C. T. Vivian played a fundamental role in modern American history. Working alongside American heroes, including Martin Luther King Jr., Vivian’s involvement in the civil rights movement began in the 1940s when he began taking part in sit-in demonstrations. His work as both a minister and an author gained him global attention throughout his career. He remained a prominent religious leader and historical figure until his passing, being hailed by Martin Luther King Jr. as “The greatest preacher to ever live.”
In 1970, C.T. Vivian became a published author releasing his book Black Power and the American Myth, which would become one of the most significant firsthand accounts of the civil rights movements and its most influential leaders. Vivian’s proximity to people like Dr. King gives the book an unparalleled insight into the goals, strategies, and motivations behind the civil rights movement.
However, one of the most notable details of the book is the capitalization of Black. Many crediting C.T. Vivian as the first to capitalize Black in a published work. With the 50th anniversary of the book, and as a way to honor Vivian’s recent passing, the original publisher Fortress Press will be doing a reprinting of the iconic work.
Vivian worked closely with co-author Steve Fiffer to retell over 90 years of American history. The invaluable social commentary in It’s in the Action has received widespread praise from individuals such as Joe Meacham and Marian Wright Edelman, with Kirkus Reviews calling the book “a valuable addition to the historical record, an inspiring story of dedication and leadership.” As the fight for social justice continues, Vivian’s words and perspective are as valuable today as it was decades ago. In these trying times, the words of C. T. Vivian can be a source of comfort while providing hope for the future.