ATLANTA (AP) — On the eve of his funeral, a horse-drawn carriage took the Rev. C.T. Vivian’s casket from the Georgia Capitol to Martin Luther King Jr.’s tomb in Atlanta on Wednesday.
A viewing and ceremony was held in the rotunda of the Georgia Capitol before the carriage rolled down Piedmont Avenue and Auburn Avenue to The King Center later in the day.
Vivian died Friday at age 95.
“As one of the foremost advocates for justice during the Civil Rights Movement and one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most trusted friends and deputies, C.T. Vivian stood on the front lines of the fight for equality,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said during Wednesday’s ceremony at the Capitol.
“During one of the most turbulent times in our nation’s history, C.T. Vivian was steadfast and calm, grounded in the knowledge that he fought for something much bigger than the obstacle in front of him,” Kemp added.
More than a decade before lunch-counter protests made headlines during the Civil Rights movement, Vivian began organizing sit-ins against segregation in Peoria, Illinois, in the 1940s.
He later joined forces with King and organized the Freedom Rides across the South to halt segregation.
Vivian was honored by former President Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.
Vivian “was always one of the first in the action — a Freedom Rider, a marcher in Selma, beaten, jailed, almost killed, absorbing blows in hopes that fewer of us would have to,” Obama said in a statement shortly after his death.
A private funeral is set for Thursday at Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta.