NAACP Mourns the Passing of Rev. Dr. J. Rayfield Vines, Jr.

(Suffolk, VA) – Rev. Dr. J. Rayfield Vines, Jr., who served as President of the Virginia NAACP State Conference, passed away Saturday, August 25. A civil rights icon who was arrested and jailed in 1960 for leading sit-in protests at lunch counters, he later served several positions in the NAACP. He was 75.

“Rev. Vines cemented his place in civil rights history with his legendary sit-ins in Suffolk,” stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “He was proud to risk arrest for a law that he saw as unjust. During his tenure with the NAACP he demonstrated the same courage, and I was proud to work with him.”

“Rev. Vines was a visionary and inspirational leader of the Virginia NAACP State Conference,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “For the last half century he was a pervading influence on the civil rights movement in Virginia. The entire NAACP family offers our thoughts and our prayers.”

Rev. Vines served as President of the Henrico NAACP Branch before leading the state conference. He ended his term as state conference president last year. Dr. Vines was the pastor of Hungary Road Baptist Church.

In February 1960, Rev. Vines led a group that targeted F.W. Woolworth, People’s Drug Store and Rose’s Five and Dime, all of which segregated their lunch counters. As a result of the sit-ins, F. W. Woolworth took all the seats up from the lunch counter, and served everyone on a stand-up basis.

Remains rest at Scott’s Funeral Home, 115 E. Brookland Park Blvd., where remains will be viewed Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The family will be receiving friends Friday, August 31 at Hungary Road Baptist Church, 1733 Hungary Road from 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held Saturday. September 1 at 11 a.m. at Trinity Baptist Church, 2811 Fendall Ave. Rev. A. Lincoln James, officiating, Interment Carver Memorial Cemetery, Suffolk, Virginia.

In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to Virginia State Conference N.A.A.C.P., P. O. Box 27212, Richmond, Virginia 23261. 

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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