Dr. John Calvin Bryant was an influential voice on diversity, equity, inclusion and education and passed away on January 30, 2022. John was born on March 1, 1936 in Sylacauga, AL to Edgar and Jessie Lee (Massengale) Bryant. John, a 1954 alumnus of Withrow High School, served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1957 and played on volleyball and basketball teams. After the Army, he went to the University of Cincinnati (UC). John was a member of the UC basketball team that placed third in the 1959 and 1960 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournaments. He graduated from UC with his bachelor’s in education in 1960, his master’s in education in 1967 and his doctorate in education in 1971.
Prior to his graduation from UC in 1971, John was one of four teachers hired to integrate the faculty at Withrow High School and the first African-American basketball coach hired in the Cincinnati Public Schools. He was also the first African-American hired to the UC basketball coaching staff. Wilmington College (WC) hired Dr. Bryant as a teacher of education and head basketball coach in 1971.
John wrote the curriculum for the college’s urban education program and became chair of the education department. John left WC in 1990 to serve as the Executive Director of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (CYC). Dr. Bryant also assisted with the creation of two organizations associated with CYC: the Mayerson Academy and ArtWorks. After retiring from the CYC, John was a consultant for the Children’s Defense Fund and UC and participated in the Veterans History Project for the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library.
John served on several boards and commissions (e.g., the Ohio State Board of Education, the Ohio Department of Education’s college evaluation teams, Ohio Courts Futures Commission, Southern State Community College, Seven Hills Neighborhood House, Great Rivers Girl Scout Council, CET Public Television, Urban Appalachian Council, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Hamilton County Educational Foundation, Nationwide Financial Services and Ohio Humanities Council.)
John leaves to cherish his memory and legacy–his family, friends, colleagues, fellow teachers and students. His legacy is impactful on the lives of so many.