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Dr. Willie L. Bryant, 77, Rockland County Dentist, Civil Rights Leader

Dr. Willie L. Bryant
Dr. Willie L. Bryant Photo Credit: Florida A&M University National Alumni Association

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N. Y. -- Rockland County civic leaders and activists are mourning the loss of Dr. Willie L. Bryant, a dentist and well-known civil rights figure who died Dec. 28. He was 77.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day released a statement noting Bryant's contributions to civil rights issues in Rockland County and the Mid-Hudson Valley.

"Dr. Bryant was a tireless advocate for our county and a champion for our residents," Day said. "His outstanding leadership and many achievements in fighting for civil rights and equality and improving the lives of those with physical and mental disabilities will be his legacy."

Bryant, of Wesley Hills, was a 2008 inductee into the Rockland County Human Rights/Civil Rights Hall of Fame,.

A member of Florida A&M University's Class of 1961, Bryant began his lifelong affiliation with the NAACP in college. He also was active with the Florida A&M alumni association, serving as president of the Ossining chapter, according to the Rockland County Times .

He's credited with being the driving force behind the Thurgood Marshall Monument in Hillburn, and as an early supporter of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. He was active with the Human Rights Commission of Rockland County, among many other organizations, the Rockland County Times said.

Some of his other projects include helping to start the Spring Valley NAACP Life Membership Program, as well as a literary contest for students at the Martin Luther King Multipurpose Center in Spring Valley, lohud. com said.

"Dr. Bryant changed Rockland County for the better, and we are forever in his debt," Day said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bryant family this week."

A visitation is planned for 6 p.m. Friday at Pilgrim Baptist Church, 80 N. Franklin St., Nyack. A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the church.

Contributions in his memory can be made to Florida A&M University.

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