TOUGALOO COLLEGE NEWS

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Sandra L. Hodge

Vice President for Institutional Advancement   

Tougaloo College

shodge@tougaloo.edu                                                                                                                                500 West County Line Road

601.977.7920                                                                                                                                                        Tougaloo, MS 39174  

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 19, 2020

 

TOUGALOO COLLEGE MOURNS THE LOSS OF TWO CIVIL RIGHTS ICONS

 

 

TOUGALOO, Miss.—Today, Tougaloo College mourns the loss of two civil rights icons: long-time member of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Congressman John Lewis and Reverend C. T. Vivian, a major loss for America.  Congressman Lewis dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and ensuring and protecting voting rights for individuals throughout the world.  Dr. Carmen J. Walters, President of Tougaloo College said, Tougaloo was blessed to have Congressman Lewis on our campus to speak to students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends as the speaker for the College’s 2012 Commencement Exercises.  He told the graduates “You must look out for each other.  You all live in one house.  The Tougaloo House.  The wind may blow, the thunder may roll, and the lightning may flash, but remember this special place.  As you leave here today, stay with the house – The Tougaloo House.”  Congressman Lewis understood Tougaloo’s rich legacy of social justice—civil rights, tolerance, respect for differences, and breaking down barriers that separate and limit individuals and societies.  Growing up in rural Troy, Alabama–attending segregated schools in Pike County, Alabama and participating in the life of his community–he witnessed a system of injustice.  At an early age, he committed his life work to be among the brave troops like Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., the Freedom Riders and many others, who would guide us in the great, unfinished march toward equality, civil rights and human dignity.     

Reverend C.T. Vivian’s presence in the state of Mississippi during the height of the 1960s freedom struggle will be felt for generations to come.  Growing up in rural Macomb, Illinois, Reverend Vivian, too, witnessed the racial barriers that existed throughout the country. Reverend Vivian was a close confidant of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., and was a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) working closely with Reverend Joseph Lowery.  Like Congressman Lewis, Reverend Vivian was a Freedom Rider and remained one of the greatest champions of civil rights until his passing. 

 

The loss of Congressman Lewis and Reverend Vivian is a tremendous loss for humanity.  Tougaloo College is saddened by the passing of these two civil rights icons, but we are grateful that this state, this nation, and the world are better for them having lived.  Their lives of action inspire a call to each of us, reminding us to advocate for justice in our communities and to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, says President Walters. Tougaloo College will continue to advance its legacy of social justice and the legacies of both Congressman Lewis and Reverend Vivian.  “It is so wonderful to know that both of these civil rights icons saw the fruits of their labor through our young people who have taken the reins to passionately fight against  racial injustice, call for police reform, and demand systemic change,” said President Walters.  Congressman Lewis and Reverend Vivian, Tougaloo College celebrates you.

 

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About Tougaloo College

Tougaloo College is a private, independent, liberal arts institution, offering undergraduate degrees in twenty-nine majors in the areas of education, the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences, and graduate degrees in education. Since its founding in 1869, the College has maintained a rich tradition of excellence, relevance, and influence, creating a legacy of distinction in higher education. Tougaloo College was awarded $6 million from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for the renewal of the Jackson Heart Study Undergraduate Training Center. Some of Tougaloo College's remarkable alumni include Congressman Bennie G. Thompson; Tougaloo President Emerita Dr. Beverly Wade Hogan; NAACP President Derrick Johnson; Justice Reuben V. Anderson; Engineer and Educator Eugene DeLoatch; and Astrophysicist Hakeem M. Oluseyi.

“Where History Meets the Future”