Vivian Osborne Marsh was one of the most influential black women in the San Francisco area. Marsh served her community as an activist and government official.
Marsh was born in Houston, Texas on September 5, 1897. After high school, she applied to the University of California-Berkeley, and because she was schooled in the South, she was required to take numerous entrance exams. However, because she scored so well on the exams, discontinue use of the policy soon followed.
She received a bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Anthropology and was one of the first blacks to earn a Master’s degree from University of California-Berkeley. While at the UC-Berkely, Marsh founded the Kappa Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She went on to establish other chapters and serve as president, Far West regional director, and national president.
Marsh also was elected president of the California State Association of Colored Women which under her supervision established the Fannie Wall Children’s Home and Day Nursery in Oakland. In addition, she was involved in the National Council of Negro Women as a state supervisor of the National Youth Administration.
March became involved in politics and was a Republican in an area that was mostly Democratic. She had a lot of influence in the state and federal government because she knew many of the officials. In 1959, she ran for city council but was defeated, however, she remained involved throughout the community. Vivian Osborne Marsh died in 1986 after suffering a stroke.