LISTEN: GPB Morning Edition host Pamela Kirkland speaks with DeAna Jo Vivian about the C.T. and Octavia Vivian Foundation, which promotes books, reading and literacy in honor of the late civil rights leader and his wife.

Credit: GPB

C.T. Vivian had a special relationship with books and literature.

The civil rights leader, minister and close associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. participated in the Nashville Student Movement in the 1960s and wrote the book Black Power and the American Myth before moving to Atlanta in 1977.

His daughter-in-law said she hopes his love of reading and writing continues to be part of preserving his legacy.

“He was just a great thinker and he believed in the power of literature,” DeAna Jo Vivian, executive director of the C.T. and Octavia Vivan Foundation, told GPB“He felt that literature, coupled with education, was the pathway for [Black] success.”

Literacy is also a social justice issue, Vivian said, and a key component of the Atlanta-based nonprofit organization's work to promote literacy and education through their curriculum that chronicles the life and legacy of C.T. Vivian and his wife, Octavia Vivian.

The foundation created a literary museum and its Kaleidoscope Awards for Literary Excellence to remember C.T. Vivian and celebrate members of the community who shared his same passion for literature.

“We take the opportunity to honor those who have given voice to the black experience in an excellent way,” DeAna Jo Vivian said. “We have Pulitzer Prize winners and we have New York Times bestselling authors and the like, but we also find those people who, like C.T., they do the work, they do it with excellence.”

The third annual Kaleidoscope Awards for Literary Excellence is April 18 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta.

Find more information about the C.T. and Octavia Vivian Foundation on their website.