The Macomb community gathered on Sunday at the of site Civil Rights icon Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian's childhood home to designate it as a state historical site.
City administrator Scott Coker said it was important to get the the property at 630 East Adams Street recognized by the state of Illinois as a historical landmark and hopes the dedication will bring people together.
“The community needs to move forward," he said. "There’s a lot of racial tensions especially in our community, and across America so it’s about bringing people together."
Coker said he hopes the community left today's event inspired.
“I really hope it inspires a lot of people to work together and be arm and arm and make things better for everybody," he said.
WIU student Kyle Williams is a member of Dr. Vivian's fraternity: Alpha Phi Alpha, Incorporated. He said he felt a connection to Vivian and was compelled to attend.
“As a black man in America now, we're looked down upon," Williams said. "We’re looked at as thugs and people that don't want to do anything with their lives but with people like Brother Vivian, it helps us stand out to the rest of America, like we’re just not out here doing anything we're pursuing better things in life."
Williams said he hopes Macomb residents will see that young black men like himself are here to do good for the community.
“Look at the black community in Macomb and look at us in better limelight," he said. "And let them look at us as like not just people who come here and leave but people that are here to sta, and do better things."
City officials said the local NAACP president is working to build a C.T. Vivian Memorial Center in Macomb.
They said they'll announce the launch date of their fundraiser sometime in the near future.