VIVIAN, C. T.
C.T. and Octavia Vivian papers, circa 1923-2013

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322

404-727-6887

rose.library@emory.edu

Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/ff7fv


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Vivian, C. T.
Title: C.T. and Octavia Vivian papers, circa 1923-2013
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1286
Extent: 29.5 linear feet (30 boxes), 5 oversized papers boxes(OP), and AV Masters: 1 linear foot (1 box)
Abstract:Papers of African American civil rights activist and minister C.T. Vivian and his wife Octavia including correspondence, printed material, photographs, subject files, and audiovisual material.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Use copies have not been made for all of the audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Separated Material

In Emory's holdings are books formerly owned by C.T. Vivian. These materials may be located in the Emory University online catalog by searching for: Vivian, C.T., former owner.

Source

Acquired 2014.

Citation

[after identification of item(s)], C.T. and Octavia Vivian papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Processing

Arranged and described at the file level by Laura Starratt and Michael Camp, 2018. Rose Library staff retained Octavia Vivian's original filing system of binders and file folders. Within those categories, staff imposed consistent descriptive conventions to aid access. Staff also imposed some physical rearrangement within categories to aggregate like materials.


Collection Description

Biographical Note

Cordy Tindell (C.T.) Vivian, African American civil rights activist and minister, was born on July 28, 1924, to Robert and Euzetta (Tindell) Vivian in Boonville, Illinois. He was educated in the desegregated public schools of McComb, Illinois, and attended college at Western Illinois University. Following college, Vivian moved to Peoria, Illinois, where he became involved with nonviolent direct action efforts such as sit-ins, to end de facto segregation of public spaces in the city. In 1955, he began attending American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, and become more deeply involved in the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. In the 1960s, Vivian participated in the Freedom Rides and joined the staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), helping to organize campaigns in Albany, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama; St. Augustine, Florida; and Selma, Alabama. Vivian is the founder of the Anti-Klan Network (later known as the Center for Democratic Renewal), Seminary without Walls (a program of Shaw University), and the Black Action Strategies and Information Center, as well as author of the book Black Power and the American Myth.

Octavia (Geans) Vivian was born in Pontiac, Michigan, to Leslie and Alvier Geans. She obtained a degree in social work from Eastern Michigan University and went on to work for the DeSota Bass Courts Housing Project in Dayton, Ohio, and as the women's and girl's supervisor for the George Washington Carver Community Center in Peoria, Illinois. C.T. and Octavia married in Peoria in 1953. Following the couple's move to Georgia, Octavia Vivian worked to desegregate the public school of DeKalb County and became the first African American deputy voter registrar in the county. In 1970, she published Coretta, the first autobiography of Coretta Scott King. Octavia Vivian passed away in 2011.

Cordy Tindell (C.T.) Vivian, African American civil rights activist and minister, was born on July 28, 1924, to Robert and Euzetta (Tindell) Vivian in Boonville, Illinois. He was educated in the desegregated public schools of McComb, Illinois, and attended college at Western Illinois University. Following college, Vivian moved to Peoria, Illinois, where he became involved with nonviolent direct action efforts such as sit-ins, to end de facto segregation of public spaces in the city. In 1955, he began attending American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee, and become more deeply involved in the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. In the 1960s, Vivian participated in the Freedom Rides and joined the staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), helping to organize campaigns in Albany, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama; St. Augustine, Florida; and Selma, Alabama. Vivian is the founder of the Anti-Klan Network (later known as the Center for Democratic Renewal), Seminary without Walls (a program of Shaw University), and the Black Action Strategies and Information Center, as well as author of the book Black Power and the American Myth.

Octavia (Geans) Vivian was born in Pontiac, Michigan, to Leslie and Alvier Geans. She obtained a degree in social work from Eastern Michigan University and went on to work for the DeSota Bass Courts Housing Project in Dayton, Ohio, and as the women's and girl's supervisor for the George Washington Carver Community Center in Peoria, Illinois. C.T. and Octavia married in Peoria in 1953. Following the couple's move to Georgia, Octavia Vivian worked to desegregate the public school of DeKalb County and became the first African American deputy voter registrar in the county. In 1970, she published Coretta, the first autobiography of Coretta Scott King. Octavia Vivian passed away in 2011.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of papers of C.T. and Octavia Vivian including correspondence, printed material, photographs, subject files, and audiovisual material. Approximately half of the collection consists of binders, arranged by subject, which contain printed material, correspondence, minutes and reports, photographs, and other documents relating to the subject. Correspondence contains letters to and from C.T. and Octavia Vivian from 1965-2011. Major topics represented in the correspondence include the Vivian family, speaking engagements and workshops attended by C.T. Vivian, and civil rights museums and other historic sites. Many of the letters from the late 1960s deal with Operation Breadbasket and C.T. Vivian's other activities in Chicago, Illinois.

Binders document civil rights figures such as Ralph David Abernathy, Septima Clark, Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King, Joseph and Evelyn Lowery, Rosa Parks, Hosea and Juanita Williams, and Andrew Young. They also document organizations and events such as the Anti-Klan Network/Center for Democratic Renewal; Black Action Strategies and Information Center; the March on Washington (1963) and subsequent anniversary marches; the Poor People's Campaign and Resurrection City; the Selma to Montgomery March; Seminary without Walls; and the SCLC. Subject files document programs and events with which C.T. and Octavia worked as well as their writing projects including Octavia’s drafts and letters with the publishing house regarding her book, Coretta (1970). Professional papers primarily document C.T.’s professional engagement including SCLC and their Operation Breadbasket, The Black Action Strategies and Information Center, and the National Anti-Klan Network/Center for Democratic Renewal.

There are also photographs that document the Vivians' work. Many of these images were taken by Elaine Tomlin, the SCLC's official photographer, most likely as part of her work there. These images include SCLC staff as well as other civil rights leaders such as Ralph Abernathy, Joseph and Evelyn Lowry, Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King, and Jesse Jackson. There are also images of the 20th anniversary of the March on Washington, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award dinners, and Resurrection City.

Arrangement Note

Organized into 6 series: (1) Binders, (2) Correspondence, (3) Photographs, (4) Printed materials, (5) Professional papers, and (6) Subject files.


Selected Search Terms

Personal Names

Corporate Names

Topical Terms

Form/Genre Terms


Description of Series

v1.11.0-dev