Civil Rights icon remembered


July 12th, 2011

Omaha, NE – A well-known African American leader in Omaha, Rev. Dr. Everett Reynolds, passed away late last week.

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Community leader and civil rights activist, Rev. Dr. Everett Reynolds, died at the age 83. (Photo credit Trip Reynolds via YouTube)

Rev. Reynolds’ voice could be heard throughout the community, through his sermons as the Senior Pastor of Lefler United Methodist Church in South Omaha, as well as with his singing. In 2009, Reynolds and his son, Dr. Wayne Reynolds, sung the gospel song “Only a Look” for the Charles Drew Benefit Concert.

Rev. Reynolds was also known to many as a local civil rights icon. For 10 years, starting in 1994, Rev. Reynolds served as the president of the Omaha branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Under his leadership, many things were achieved, including setting up an official office for the organization. Steve Jackson, the current president of the Omaha branch NAACP, said “They don’t make them the way they made Dr. Reynolds anymore.”

“He was truly an advocate in every way shape or form,” Jackson said, “Whether it was political, social, economical, he was always being involved, and speaking for the common man, and really making sure civil rights was addressed.”

Jackson said Rev. Reynolds was known and respected in the national NAACP. And, he added, it’s now up to the local community to pick up where Rev. Reynolds left off.

“Now that we have people sitting at the table participating in the discussion, and assisting with making decisions,” he said, “we have to make sure that we empower those people to really truly implement those dreams and visions that our forefathers, like Dr. Reynolds, set forth.”

Rev. Reynolds was also the President and CEO of the community access television CTI-22, and served as a board member of Black Men United. Willie Hamilton is the president of that group, and said for the past 15 years, Rev. Reynolds had been his mentor.

“One of the things I liked about Rev Reynolds is was never about Rev. Reynolds,” Hamilton said. “With him it’s always been about the people, the work and his faith. He could have easily been a very wealthy man, but it was never about money, ego… For him, it’s always been about the betterment of his community, and his relationship with God.”

Rev. Dr. Everett Reynolds died at the age of 83. He leaves behind his wife Shirley, along with their three sons, Everett Jr., Wayne, and Trip. According to a family spokesperson, Rev. Reynolds had been ill for some time and his death wasn’t unexpected. Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, July 16 at 12pm at the Clair Memorial United Methodist Church in North Omaha.

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