Donations to the StetsonRollins Memorial Fund will help to realize the dreams of the future for students, teachers, researchers, journalists, artists, scientists, practitioners, musicians, facilitators, social artists, social justice workers, and environmentalists all working with a focus on building a more compassionate, creative, just, equitable, diverse, inclusive, thriving, fun, productive, and peaceful shared future on planet earth.
Edward Bryant Rollins Jr., who died in 2022 at age 84, was born and raised in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston in 1937, the son of Edith Wade Rollins and Edward Bryant Rollins Sr.
A graduate of Boston’s English High School and Northeastern University, Bryant became an accomplished journalist, working as a reporter and columnist at The Boston Globe and as an editor at The New York Times. He was instrumental in the founding of and served as the managing editor of The Bay State Banner along with Melvin B. Miller, who remained owner and publisher until March 2023. Bryant went on to become managing editor of The Amsterdam News in New York City, one of the nation’s premier Black newspapers. Bryant involved himself deeply in the Civil Rights Movement in Boston, New York and in Mississippi where he helped organize a sharecropper-owned cooperative. Bryant published two novels, co-authored entertainer Cab Calloway’s autobiography, and he co-scripted an off-Broadway play that won an Obie. He also worked with the Ford Foundation, administering a program for minority journalists at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Bryant left journalism to start a consulting firm focused on diversity and equity training for large corporations, colleges, government agencies and nonprofits, working with his wife, Shirley, his partner of nearly 40 years. In Jacksonville, Bryant and Shirley’s groundbreaking work transformed community conversations. Working with Charlene Taylor-Hill, ED, at the COJ Human Rights Commission, they led a civic engagement initiative in the early 2000s to host Study Circles about race relations involving many citizens from different walks of life throughout the city. They facilitated the St. Johns Cathedral’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee, which brought Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Jacksonville. Bryant served on many boards, including Jax Chamber, the Jacksonville Civic Council and JCCI. Bryant always brought useful and informed insights to any Board on which he served.
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