The Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) at Emory University has acquired a collection of papers from the Rev. C.T. Vivian and his wife Octavia Geans Vivian, who worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr. at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Mrs. Vivian, who died in 2011, was the author of Coretta, a biography of Coretta Scott King.
C.T. Vivian joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1963. A graduate of American Baptist College in Nashville he participated in the Freedom Rides. On Bloody Sunday in March 1965 in Selma, Alabama, Vivian was punched by Sheriff Jim Clark on the city’s courthouse steps. Vivian received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama on November 20, 2013.
The collection donated to Emory University includes binders of notes and articles pertaining to the civil rights movement, drafts of speeches, documents pertaining to the establishment of the holiday to honor Dr. King, essays, and other documents.
“It’s one of the most significant additions to our African American and civil rights material, and a great opportunity for students and scholars to appreciate a life so fully lived by someone who made such important contributions to the world,” says MARBL director Rosemary Magee. “In addition, it further establishes Emory as a place that recognizes the history of our own era, and helps us understand how we arrived where we are today and projects these values into the future.”