C.T. Vivian among 16 to get freedom medal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Civil rights veteran C.T. Vivian will be among 16 people that President Barack Obama will venerate later this year with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The White House made the announcement this week.

A veteran of more than six decades in the civil rights struggle, Vivian joined in his first sit-in demonstrations in the 1940s in Peoria, Ill., long before the movement became front-page news.

He met the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. soon after King's victory in the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, and became an active member of the fledgling Southern Christian Leadership Conference -- which King co-founded -- just a few years later.

The Medal of Freedom was created by President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago. It's the highest honor the U.S. bestows on civilians.

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