Civil rights leader Rev. Cordy Tindell "CT" Vivian died in his Atlanta home on Friday, CNN reported.

The 95-year-old passed from natural causes.

Vivian had been a champion for the Black community since the Civil Rights Movement when he worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and participated in Freedom Rides. 

Born in Boonville, Missouri, on July 30, 1924, Vivian was raised by his mother and grandmother, according to the National Visionary Leadership Project. The women lost their family farm during the Great Depression and suffered another tragedy when their home was burned by arson. They still continued to provide for Vivian and saw to it that he'd be able to lead a life of purpose. The late reverend, whose religious beliefs developed at an early age, enrolled at the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville in 1955.

At the same time, he became one of the founders of the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference, which helped organize the city's first sit-ins and civil rights march. In 1965, Vivian found himself in a confrontation with Sheriff Jim Clark while leading a group of people who were trying to register to vote in Selma, Alabama. 

"We will register to vote because as citizens of the United States we have the right to do it," Vivian said as the sheriff blocked the group.  

But the statement did nothing to convince the sheriff. Instead, Clark responded by attacking the reverend, who ended up with blood dripping from his face. Other residents, who later saw a recording of the incident, became more inspired to join the movement.

Vivian continued to champion several causes throughout his life. One of the legacies he left behind is that of a college readiness program which he said he created to "take care of the kids that were kicked out of school simply because they protested racism."

His program served as the framework for Upward Bound, a federally funded program designed to help high school students prepare for college. 

Vivian also founded the National Anti-Klan Network in the 1970s but eventually decided to change the name and the direction of the organization. Instead of focusing on monitoring the Ku Klux Klan, the social justice champion said the purpose of the anti-racism organization is "bigger than the Klan." 

"We called it the Center for Democratic Renewal because the whole culture had to be renewed if it truly was going to be a democratic one," Vivian said.

According to ABC News, Vivian spoke with students in Tennessee 50 years after the Voting Rights Act passed, urging them to keep up the fight for justice and to make sure their voices are heard.

“This is what made the movement; our voice was really heard. But it didn’t happen by accident; we made certain it was heard,” the reverend said.

In 2013, Vivian received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

“Time and again, Reverend Vivian was among the first to be in the action: In 1947, joining a sit-in to integrate an Illinois restaurant; one of the first Freedom Riders; in Selma, on the courthouse steps to register Blacks to vote, for which he was beaten, bloodied and jailed,” Obama said while giving the award. 

The civil rights icon and his late wife, Octavia Geans Vivian, raised six children.

"He was just a kind person and cared about people," his daughter Kira Vivian told CNN.