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Ms. Marian Olivia Heath Griffin

(Business Owner)

About Me

Marian Olivia Heath Griffin lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with her husband, Rev. Bertrand Griffin of almost 60 years. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, College Administrator and Author of twenty- eight books. Her many areas of expertise were put into practice at Southern University for thirty-six years, the last seven years as Director of International Student Services. Her first two master’s degrees were from Atlanta university in the field of Social Work. Her second master’s degree was in Psychology Counseling from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Her third master’s degree in mass communications (and photography) is from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana which inspired her to write her story and tell her people’s history.

Griffin graduated from Delaware State University in music (two years), sociology and psychology. While at Delaware State University, she was a participant in the “Sit Ins” at lunch counters in the Civil Rights Movement, and was a part of the NAACP. She also joined the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. to promote and advance educational and social stability inequality among diverse students. She was a member of the university choir and the solo class and traveled extensively with this group. She was a member of the Social Science Club and traveled with them while in college.

 She pursued a master’s degree in social work from the Atlanta University School of Social Work, and a master’s degree program at Gammon Theological Seminary of the Interdenominational Theological       Center. While in Atlanta, Georgia, she was a part of the Civil Rights Movement and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Ralph Abernathy and Reverend Fred Shuttleworth, in several projects – T-Day (Theater Day) and lunch counters and worked with high school students at several churches and nursery schools which were being integrated.

In the Fall of 1962, August to February 1963, Marian Heath assisted in establishing a Group Social Work facility with the help of a Director and Social Work Supervisor in a downtown building in Cincinnati, Ohio for seven months. This was a Field Placement assignment in partial fulfillment for her master’s degree from the Atlanta University School of Social Work. This agency was to serve a transitional area in the Cincinnati community. Only whites lived in the downtown area, but blacks were moving in. She organized the group work setting with nine white women and one black woman. This group worked well together. Because these ladies brought their young children with them, a girl’s group and boy’s group were organized by Marian Heath. Each of the three groups had their own agenda and focused activities. The groups were diverse with families moving into the area from Kentucky, black neighborhoods and a few white families maintaining their homes in the downtown area.

Marian Heath returned to Atlanta to complete her last semester at the School of Social work only to learn that her scholarship had been given to a young man from New York. She began the process of withdrawing from the School of Social Work and returning home to get a job in Delaware teaching in a nursery school.  Her mother had died in 1961, before she graduated from Delaware State College (University). There were no finances for her to complete her master’s degree at Atlanta University. Instead, she married Bertrand Griffin, a Gammon Theological Seminary student. The newly married couple was given a free apartment by the president of Gammon Theological Seminary based on the scholarship that Bertrand had to attend that seminary. Marian Heath Griffin was given a scholarship to attend Gammon Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center and a job at the YMCA. She studied one year at Gammon Theological Seminary in a two- year program and Bertrand graduated that year in May,1964.     

When they moved back to Louisiana, Bertrand’s home state, Marian enrolled in the master’s degree program in Religious Education at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She was able to transfer her credits from Atlanta University School of Social Work and Gammon Theological Seminary as well as her transcript from Delaware State University to NOBTS.

Among many struggles in an all-white Southern Baptist Seminary in the middle 1960’s as a black student, she graduated with an emphasis in Psychological Counseling and Social Work from this seminary on May28, 1965. She completed her degree from this seminary as the first back student in 1965 and went on to certify and receive a professional position as the first black Eligibility Social Worker in the Louisiana Department of Social Work. After completing this job for one year and concentrating on her family life(having one child), she received a position and served as Counselor-at Large at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was a Psychological Counselor helping college students meet their needs and progress in their college endeavors.  The last seven years of her thirty-six years at Southern University, she served as Director of International Student Services.  

This university was noted as the largest HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. She worked there for 36 years and served in many capacities as Counselor, Area Coordinator and Administrator in the Student Affairs Department working closely with the Financial Aid Department, teaching in Freshmen Studies and serving as liaison between students, faculty and administrators.

 During her tenure there, she earned another master’s degree in mass communication, with an emphasis in Print Journalism and Photography. She also did further studies at Louisiana State University in Educational Supervision and at Northwestern University, (Garrett-Evangelical Seminary), Evanston, Illinois. 

She is also a Marriage Counselor and a Cognitive Behavioral Counselor combined with being a Licensed Professional Counselor. 

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