Tags: Geneva Lake West
September 17, 2013 | 02:50 PMWALWORTH — "C.T. Vivian has done far more impressive things than anyone in my family. The real story is that he came to visit my dad."
Mary Johansen, daughter of 103-year-old Alfred Drummond, said the civil rights leader was mentored by her father.
"My dad was the principal at Macomb (Ill.) High School when Rev. Vivian was a boy," she said. "C.T. was born in Missouri, but his mother was concerned that her children wouldn't get a good education in Missouri, a state that was still quite segregated."
Johansen said Macomb wasn't "exactly integrated" but it wasn't segregated.
"There weren't any black students at my school," she said. "The schools weren't integrated, but the town was. Macomb had a population that grew together. It was a very nice town."
Vivian was a key leader in the civil rights movement and a close friend of Martin Luther King Jr. He started protesting while still in college at Western Illinois University, and he worked for Jesse Jackson's presidential campaign in 1984.
Vivian is currently interim president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Johansen said her father often drove Vivian home from school.
After high school, Drummond and Vivian still talked.
"My dad was so impressed by C.T.'s abilities that he mentored him and kept in touch off and on through the years," she said. "It was when I heard he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom that I decided to reach out to him."
Johansen said she wrote to Vivian and didn't expect to hear back.
"I got this phone call," she said. "I wasn't going to answer it. It was some strange number, but I answered it. It was C.T. We probably talked for an hour. He said he would come see my dad."
Johansen said she didn't think Vivian could find time to visit her father.
"I got a phone call from his daughter on Labor Day, and she set it up," Johansen said. "He was here that Wednesday."
Drummond and Vivian spent a few hours together, Johansen said.
"He is very intelligent, very fun," she said. "He said he would have been here (the week prior) but he had to see the president."
Johansen said Vivian is still active with the civil rights movement, and he often attends anniversary celebrations of key civil right moments.