About C.T. Vivian Foundation

The C.T. Vivian Foundation, Inc. is an Atlanta based non-profit organization. The Mission of the Foundation is to expand the legacy and vision of C. T. and Octavia Vivian through social justice initiatives centered around literacy, education, and the preservation of Black literature and history in order to advance and broaden our understanding of who we are, who we have been, and who we have the potential to be as African Americans and people of African descent.

C.T. Vivian Foundation (CTVF) has developed several programs aimed at achieving its mission and vision, while endeavoring to see C.T. & Octavia’s legacy honored through action.

C. T. and Octavia Vivian Photo

In 2012, Dr. C.T. Vivian, and the founding board members filed the necessary papers with the Secretary of State of Georgia bringing into existence the C.T. & Octavia Vivian Museum and Archives, Inc. (CTOVMA), a nonprofit organization.

C.T. Vivian was a civil rights pioneer who pushed our nation towards justice and equality.  He frequently said that It’s in the Action that we find out who we are.  When we define C.T. by his civil rights legacy, we are correct, but incomplete.   He was also an intellectual, and a voracious reader who found himself in a book entitled Men of Mark, 1887 By Rev. William Simmons (single most authoritative work on nineteenth-century African Americans).   “I saw us as I never even thought to see us.  Books opened me psychologically to a whole new understanding of who I was, and who I had the potential to be.”  Dr. Vivian believed that exposure to education and literature were the catalyst for continued growth, innovative leadership, and generational change.   He said it like this, “Imagination with education is the vision that creates something that goes beyond our current circumstance.” The person who knows HOW will always have a job, but the person who knows WHY will always be the boss.”

This was the impetus behind the Vivian’s amassing 6000+ books over a 30 year period.  Denise, their oldest daughter from their union, tells stories of them returning from road trips with the trunk loaded with books. Many of the books they collected were written and published in the 1700s and 1800s. At the founding of CTOVMA, the mission was to collect, preserve, and exhibit books authored by African Americans and/or those of African heritage and to support educational programing utilizing the content of the collections and the voices of the African American experience.

The Board began the work of securing a home for the book collection and fundraising to cover operating expenses.  The first fundraiser was held May 2014, to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Vivian.  Proceeds from the fundraiser were instrumental in cataloging the collection, creating a website, and securing resources for operation expenses.  

On July 17, 2020, our beloved founder, C.T. Vivian passed quietly in his home in Atlanta, Georgia.  It was a loss for the nation, for Georgia, our beloved Atlanta, and certainly the Foundation.  But it was also a time for the Board to reflect on the mission in light of the legacy and vision of C.T. 

When a name is too narrow in scope to encompass the legacy of its founder, you pivot.  In 2023, the C.T. & Octavia Vivian Museum and Archives changed its name to the C.T. Vivian Foundation, Inc.  Changing the name to the C.T. Vivian Foundation allows the Organization to focus on the mission of preserving the 6000+ volume book collection written by and about African Americans while also making room for C.T. ‘s broader vision that continued progress is rooted in knowing our history and access to education.

Since the passing of Dr. Vivian, not only has the foundation changed its name, but it established the Kaleidoscope awards for Literary Excellence, The Octavia Vivian Scholarship Program, The It’s in the Action Curriculum, and The Advocate: The C.T. Vivian Social Justice Award. The C.T. & Octavia Vivian Literary Museum remains the cornerstone for the legacy and vision of  the C.T. Vivian Foundation. 


Thank you for donating books that are written by Black authors and or about the African American experience. We ask that your donated books be hard back (no paperback) and in good condition.

If you believe your book donation is greater than its retail face value, please have your donation professionally appraised by a certified, licensed book appraiser prior to sending your donation to C.T. Vivian Foundation. We are not licensed appraisers, nor do we recommend appraisers. We will acknowledge receipt of all donations in writing.

Our Supporters

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top