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Mrs. Octavia Geans Vivian

Mrs. Octavia Geans Vivian

She was born on February 23, 1928 in Pontiac, Michigan. She was the wife of Dr. C. T. Vivian, and the author of Coretta, the first biography of Mrs. Coretta Scott King. Octavia earned a degree in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University and was active in church and civic work throughout her life. She married C. T. Vivian in 1952 and their union flourished for 58 years and produced six children: Denise Vivian Morse (Carlton), Cordy, Jr. (deceased January, 2010), Kira E. Vivian, Mark Evans Vivian (Utrophia), Anita Charisse Thornton (Andre), and Albert Louis Vivian (DeAna Jo Swann) and fourteen grandchildren. The Vivians moved to Atlanta, Georgia when Rev. Vivian joined the Executive Staff of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.'s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Octavia worked tirelessly to end racial segregation in the Georgia's DeKalb County Public Schools. She also became one of the first African-American Deputy Voter Registrars in DeKalb County Georgia. Octavia organized women and mothers of the greater neighborhood to end one principal's efforts to segregate the elementary school from within. Octavia took the lead in collecting and organizing documents that detailed the history of S.C.L.C. and the American Civil Rights Movement. In 1970, Octavia authored and published Coretta, the first biography of Coretta Scott King. She revised and re-published a memorial edition of Coretta upon Mrs. King's death in 2006. Octavia also assisted Coretta King in the early months of establishing the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. She also spent several years working as a secretary for the Cascade United Methodist Church and in Public Relations at Morris Brown College. Octavia was a loving, strong and spiritual woman who assisted and supported C.T. on his journey to gain freedom for African-Americans across this country. She trusted and loved God, and she believed her mission in life was forged by His design.