ATLANTA — Yesterday the public paid its respects and said its farewells to the reverend, and later today inside Providence Missionary Baptist Church, family and friends will do the same during a private funeral.
The Civil Rights icon died Friday at the age of 95.
Alvin Vivian delivered a message of unity.
“Love one another, trust one another, connect with each other across our cultural differences then we can become the America that we say we are,” Alvin Vivian said.
Gov. Kemp shared words of honoring the Civil Rights hero.
“During one of the most turbulent times in our nation’s history C.T. Vivian was steadfast and calm,” Gov. Kemp said.
Vivian’s private funeral began at 11 a.m. His six grandsons were pallbearers.
Channel 2′s Tom Jones was at the funeral, where friends and family members shared memories.
Al Vivian said an emotional goodbye to his father.
“How do you say goodbye, your final goodbye, to the greatest person you’ve ever known?” DeAna Vivian said. “I don’t have to say goodbye because this is not my final goodbye. Dad, til I see you again in Heaven, I love you.”
Friend David McCord said Vivian was someone who had compassion and courage.
“For me, CT was a dream-keeper,” McCord siad. “Always holding on for a better world.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden, Hank Aaron, Ambassador Andrew Young and Oprah gave video tributes to Vivian.
“C.T. was truly a remarkable man, whose physical courage was exceeded only by his moral courage,, whose capacity for love overwhelmed incredible hatreds, whose faith in the power of non-violence helped forever change our nation,” Biden said.
Oprah remembered working with Vivian on a series of seminars on racial inequality in the 90s.
“What an impact he made on that audience of mostly white women at the time, gently yet passionately confronting them on their ignorances and their denial of racial inequality,” Oprah said. “It was a privilege to witness his wisdom, teaching and action.”
Young said he was as close to Vivian as he was Martin Luther King Jr., calling them both “my brothers.”
“He was always a pastor. He was always a preacher, and a good one. And his motivation was always spiritual,” Young said. “He didn’t want attention. He didn’t want money. He only wanted to do God’s will and bring out the best in these United States of America.”
Jones spoke to Willie Watkins, who runs the Watkins Funeral Home and was attending to both Vivian and Lewis.
He said he imagined the conversations their spirits were having.
“We made it,” Watkins said. “Look through all the struggles we went through, but now look where we are, resting because God called us home.”
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