Rev. Dr. Charles E. Bryant |
April 12, 1932 - February 19, 2014
OPELOUSAS - Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Little Zion Baptist Church in Opelousas, LA, for Rev. Dr. Charles E. Bryant, 81, who entered eternal rest, Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at Baton Rouge General Medical Center.
Interment will be in Serenity Memorial Park Cemetery in Opelousas, LA. The 7th District Baptist Association is in charge. Rev. Gerald Perkins, President, presiding.
Rev. Dr. Charles Eugene Bryant a former pastor, teacher, civil rights activist, husband, father, grandfather, friend and most of all a man of God was ordained by God to "set his people free".
Charles E. Bryant was born to Rev. Van Bryant, Jr. and Mrs. Anna Leday Bryant in Opelousas, Louisiana. He accepted Christ at a young age and was baptized at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Opelousas by Rev. Gundy. He pastored the Little Zion Baptist Church for over 18 years. In 1954, he married Betty Ruth Tolbert and to this union one daughter, Monaceita Maria Bryant was born.
Dr. Bryant is considered a legend in his own time. From an honor student at J. S. Clark High to being honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force, this illustrious leader had a thirst for knowledge which led him to Southern University where he attained his undergraduate, graduate and law degrees.
Because of his compassion for his people, he served as co-founder and president of the St. Landry Chapter of the NAACP. In the 1960's, he led the Civil Rights Movement for public accommodations, voting rights, school desegregation, equal protection under the laws of this government, and protection of displaced administrators/teachers, and support staff in St. Landry and other Acadiana parishes. Rev. Bryant was close friends, marched with and a fraternity brother (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity) of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He went to jail, led boycotts and sit-ins, had confrontations with the powers that be in order to "set his people free and lead them to the promised land". We haven't gotten there yet, the war is still on, and we still have battles to win. He was "St. Landry Parish's Moses"! His goal was to "set his people free".
He worked as an outstanding English/Speech teacher at Dunbar/Washington High Schools. He was the Director of Displaced Educators assuring that our Black educators would be employed. Later, he became the Associate State Superintendent of Education during the administration of Dr. Thomas Clausen. After serving a four year term, he returned to Southern University as Director of Mentoring Programs and HUD Programs. He later became an associate professor in the graduate school. All in preparation for "setting his people free".
In boycotting the downtown lunch counters and department stores for equal/fair employment and access he was "setting our people free".
In restoring jobs and inhibiting the demotion of Black administrators/teachers, leading pickets on St. Landry Parish School Board, even though he was employed by the board, in order to "set our people free"
While being reared by Ms. Lena who gave him love and guidance, to J.S. Clark High School, the U.S. Air Force, Southern University, to teaching English Literature and Drama at Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School, and becoming ordained for the ministry, our Moses was being prepared to "set our people free".
In whatever he did, Rev. Bryant gave God the glory, in his teachings he gave God the glory, in his employment he gave God the glory, in his marriage he gave God the glory, and in his gospel ministry he gave God the glory. In setting our people free, he gave God the glory.
To God be the glory, to God be the glory, to God be the glory for sending us Dr. Charles Bryant.
Rev. Bryant leaves to celebrate his homegoing a devoted and loving daughter, Monaceita Maria Bryant of Baton Rouge, LA; two half-brothers, Glenn Bryant (Royslan) and Van Bryant both of Opelousas, LA; two sisters, Victoria Walker of Houston, TX, Mosella Laws of Opelousas and one half-sister, Aisha Wiley Mohammed of Arizona; two grandchildren, Angela Maria Davis (Damon) and Charles Emmitt May (Ariel) both of Baton Rouge; five great grandchildren, Desment, Myles, Morgan, Mia, and E'Yonna, a devoted nephew, Rev. Berthel Lewis (Donna) of Opelousas; a very close cousin, Ava Bonham of Baton Rouge, LA, three very close and special friends, Dr. Gussie Trahan of Baton Rouge, Clifton"Bro" Lemelle, and Attorney Marion Overton White both of Opelousas, and his goddaughter Ingrid Harris of Opelousas and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
Rev. Bryant was preceded in death by his wife Betty Tolbert Bryant, his parents, Rev. and Mrs. Van Bryant, Jr., adoptive parents, Willie and Lena Payne, grandparents Rev. Van Bryant, Sr. and Simey Brook Bryant, three brothers, Dexter, Sherman, and Charmos "Bubba" Bryant, two sisters, Mary LaRose and Priscilla Lewis and one adopted sister Beaulah Jones.
Visiting hours will be observed from 8:00 A.M. to 10:45 A.M. Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Little Zion Baptist Church in Opelousas, LA.
Share words of comfort with the Bryant family at www.williamsfuneralhomes.net
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Williams Funeral Home of Opelousas, 337-942-2037.
Published in the Daily World on Feb. 28, 2014