Baptist professor, civil-rights advocate dies
    October 1 2010 by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press

    A long-time Wake Forest University religion professor active in the Civil Rights Movement died Sept. 29. McLeod Bryan, 90, is being remembered not only for his own work for peace and justice, but also for influencing countless others through the years.

    “I’m always running into people who told me, ‘Your dad changed my life in class,’“ Bryan’s son, George, told the Winston-Salem Journal.

    The North Carolina native received a B.A. (1941) and M.A. (1944) from the school — then known as Wake Forest College — and a B.D. (1947) and Ph.D. (1951) from Yale University. He was pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in New Haven, Conn., from 1945 until 1948. He taught at Mars Hill College and Mercer University before joining the religion department at Wake Forest in 1956.

    Bryan stayed at Wake Forest 37 years, championing racial justice and human rights while teaching his students about religion and ethics. Often controversial and an agent of change, Bryan and others mounted a campaign to integrate Wake Forest in 1963. 

    He also taught in South Africa — where he was an early opponent of the country’s segregationist apartheid regime — and at the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Ruschlikon, Switzerland.

    Like other outspoken whites active in the Civil Rights Movement, Bryan was often vilified. His son said job opportunities were withheld, and crosses were burned on his father’s lawn.

    In a preface to Bryan’s 1999 book, Voices in the Wilderness, author and fellow white Baptist civil-rights advocate Will Campbell said Bryan “fits unquestionably within the line of prophets.”

    Despite his academic achievements, Campbell said, Bryan always preferred to be called “Mac.” Published by Mercer University Press, Voices in the Wilderness — subtitled Twentieth Century Prophets Speak to the New Millennium — included Bryan’s autobiographical reflections of his experiences with five influential people he knew, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Clarence Jordan.

    He wrote a total of 13 books, including These Few Also Paid a Price, a compilation of testimonies of 30 Southern whites who participated in the Civil Rights Movement juxtaposed with the white majority’s intense opposition to any change in the racial status quo.

    Bryan is survived by his wife of 65 years, Edna, four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A graveside service will be held at Bryan’s boyhood church, New Bethel Baptist Church in Garner, at 2:30 p.m. today (Oct. 1).

    A memorial service is scheduled at 3 p.m. Oct. 3 at Wake Forest Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, where he was a member, in Wait Chapel on the Wake Forest campus.

    Memorials may be made to the G. McLeod Bryan Caring Award at Mars Hill College or Wake Forest University Public Engagement for Religion.
    10/1/2010 6:10:00 AM by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press | with 2 comments

Sirena Dolberry
Interesting article and one which should be more widely known about in my view. Your level of detail is good and the clarity of writing is excellent. I have bookmarked it for you so that others will be able to see what you have to say.
10/29/2010 2:05:07 PM

Brent Hobbs
While I would probably disagree strongly with some aspects of Bryan's theology, I certainly want to commend him and others of his day who stood up for racial equality. They were certainly faithful to biblical teaching in that area and we are better off today because of the stand he and others like him took.
10/1/2010 1:51:14 PM

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