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Sunday, May 19, 2024
Human Rights

Leaders of the Civil Rights movement: Gone but not forgotten

Tennesseans honored the memory and spirit of American civil rights icon Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, 55 years after King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. His colleagues and friends in the movement soldiered on, many of them — like John Lewis, who served as a U.S. Representative from Georgia for 34 years before his 2020 death — continuing to advocate for increased civil rights well into the 21st century.

But the passage of time is thinning their ranks.

Photojournalist John Partipilo has documented many of the men and women who led the 1960s fight to give Black Americans access to voting and integration of public spaces, including those who got their start as organizers in Nashville: Rev. C.T. Vivian, who studied at Nashville’s American Baptist College; King Hollands, an early participant in Nashville’s lunch counter sit-ins; Ernest “Rip” Patton, a Tennessee State University student who became a Freedom Rider; and Kwame Leo Lillard, who became active in the movement as a Nashville teen and went on to hold elected office.

All four are deceased. We honor their memory as well as King’s.

Kwame Leo Liliard
Kwame Leo Lillard in front of the Freedom Riders mural on Jefferson Street in Nashville. Lillard died in December 2020. (Photo: John Partipilo)
Rev. C.T. Vivian
The Rev. C.T. Vivian speaks at a breakfast to honor Martin Luther King. Vivian was a Civil Rights leader in Nashville and worked with Dr. Martin UTHER KINGMonday Jan. 20, 2014, in Nashville in Tenn.
King Hollands
King Hollands photographed at First Baptist Church Capital Hill in 2023 by John Partipilo. Hollands died in December, 2023.

This article in this post was originally published on Tennessee Lookout and parts of it are included here under a Creative Commons license CC BY-ND 4.0

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