The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins

Share on Social Media

Information about Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins

Profile image of Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Pastor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Hamburgers
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Canada
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/8/1926
Birth Location:
Newport News, Virginia

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
ReligionMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Pastor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Hamburgers
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Canada
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/8/1926
Birth Location:
Newport News
See how Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Civil rights activist and pastor Rev. Joseph Metz Rollins, Jr. was born on September 8, 1926 in Newport News, Virginia to Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins, Sr. and Alice C. Rollins, as the first of two children. Rollins’ father was the pastor of the Carver Memorial Presbyterian Church for forty-four years, beginning just one year before Rollins’ birth. In 1970, his church had become one of the largest in the Southern Virginia Presbytery when Rollins retired.

In 1954, at the age of twenty-seven, the presbytery sent Rollins from Newport News to become the first pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, Florida. There, Rollins was active in the Tallahassee Bus Boycott, which was coordinated by the Inter-Civic Council. Rollins served as treasurer for the group, working with civil rights activist Reverend C.K. Steele. During the boycott, many in the group’s leadership were threatened with violence. Rollins, in particular, received death threats. Despite this, he became known for his outspoken nature and unwillingness to compromise on important issues. Rollins’ activism had consequences on his career. The Florida Presbytery fired him and abandoned Trinity Presbyterian Church, which forced Rollins to take a job as a hospital orderly. His congregation, in the meantime, purchased new land and joined the “Northern Presbyterian Church,” becoming Trinity United Presbyterian. Steadfast in service to civil rights, in 1961, Rollins was arrested in Jackson, Mississippi for his participation in the Freedom Rides. He was struck in the head by a rock in 1963 protesting in Nashville, Tennessee. Rollins served as Vice President of the Nashville Christian Leadership Council, a branch of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference and acted as the field director for United Presbyterian’s Board of Education.

In 1964, Rollins moved to New York to work as a staff member for the United Presbyterian Church; also, he continued his work in the Civil Rights Movement. Rollins became the first Executive Director of the National Committee of Black Churchmen in 1967, an organization dedicated to advocating for racial awareness within churches. The following year, Rollins lost a race for the White Plains, New York school board. As leader of the National Committee of Black Churchmen, Rollins was involved in numerous controversies in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including the debate over James Forman’s “Black Manifesto,” which demanded reparations from white churches, and the National Committee of Black Churchmen coordinated “Black Referendum” on the Vietnam War. By 1972, the National Committee of Black Churchmen had 800 members, and Rollins had relocated to become Pastor at St. Augustine Presbyterian Church in the Bronx, New York. Rollins remained the pastor until 2005, when, at the age of seventy-eight, he became Pastor Emeritus.

Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 14, 2007.

See how Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls his maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins describes his mother's occupation and education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls his paternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers segregation in Gastonia, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins describes his father's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers segregation in Newport News, Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls his early education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers John Marshall Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls the entertainment of his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls his early interest in literature
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins describes his experiences of racial discrimination
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers Marcelino Manuel da Graca
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers his ordination as a minister
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls teaching at Johnson C. Smith University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers moving to Tallahassee, Florida
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls the formation of the Inter Civic Council
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers the Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls meeting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers working as a hospital orderly
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls the bus boycott in Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls the bus boycott in Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls moving to Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls joining the Nashville Christian Leadership Council
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers his daughter's appendectomy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls his activism in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers visiting Canada with his family
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers visiting Virginia with his family
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins talks about the National Committee of Black Churchmen
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls his activism in Mississippi, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls his activism in Mississippi, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers James Forman's Black Manifesto
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins describes the influence of black liberation theology, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins describes the influence of black liberation theology, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers his opposition to the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls Black Solidarity Day
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls pastoring St. Augustine Presbyterian Church in the Bronx, New York
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls campaigning to join the school board in White Plains, New York
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls advocating for prisoners at the Attica Correctional Facility
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins talks about Billy Graham
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins reflects upon his personal theology
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins describes the history of African Americans in the Presbyterian church
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins recalls pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers Cecil Ivory
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins reflects upon desegregation, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins reflects upon desegregation, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins describes how he would like to be remembered, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins describes how he would like to be remembered, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Reverend Joseph Metz Rollins remembers Russell Anderson