Homegoing of a Saint: Dr. Joseph Rayfield Vines, Jr., Richmond, Virginia

Vines, Joseph.tif

The Rev. Dr. Joseph Rayfield Vines Jr. was 75.

By: ELLEN ROBERTSON | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Published: September 01, 2012
GLEN ALLEN, Va. –By the time he was 24, Suffolk native Rayfield Vines was a civil rights activist.On Feb. 18 and 19, 1960, he led sit-ins at the lunch counters of F.W. Woolworth Inc., People’s Drug Store and Roses department store in Suffolk, which refused to serve black customers, according to a profile on the NAACP Unsung Heroes website.

On a Sunday morning he was arrested and dealt charges ranging from “parading without a permit” to “inciting a riot.” Bail was set so high that a cousin had to put up her house as collateral to get him out of jail.

He ultimately was fined $50 and court costs.

However, he helped win a significant victory for his cause: Woolworth’s removed all seats from its lunch counter and began serving everyone on a stand-up basis.

A lifelong crusader of freedom for all, he went on to also become a music teacher and minister before his death at 75 on Aug. 25 at his Glen Allen home.

A funeral for the Rev. Dr. Joseph Rayfield Vines Jr., pastor of Hungary Road Baptist Church and former president of the Henrico County Branch and the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP, will be at 11 a.m. today, Saturday, at Trinity Baptist Church, 211 Fendall Ave. in Richmond.

Burial will be in Carver Memorial Cemetery in Suffolk, where he was born Nov. 4, 1936, the middle child of five.

As a young man, he sang in his church choir, sometimes doing tenor solos, and served as a music minister in several area churches, said his wife, Gloria Key Vines.

Dr. Vines, an Eagle Scout, worked his way to a bachelor’s degree in music at Norfolk State College as a musician with a rock ‘n’ roll band and as an employee in the school cafeteria.

Dr. Vines later earned a master of education degree in music from Virginia State College.

He taught band in the school systems of Sussex, Buckingham and Fairfax counties as well as in Petersburg and Richmond, where he retired in 2003 at Lucille Brown Middle School. In 2000, Richmond schools named him Teacher of the Year.

“There’s a saying in the black community (to want) ‘to be somebody.’ He taught the kids that to be somebody they needed to get a good education so they could make a contribution to society,” his wife said.

“He spent a lot of time with students. If they didn’t have a ride home, didn’t have lunch money, if they had issues, he mentored them.”

During an interval when he left teaching to sell insurance, “he found himself ministering to customers, witnessing to them,” his wife said. “He later gave in to the calling and went to divinity school.”

Dr. Vines earned a master of divinity degree in theology and a doctorate of ministry degree, both from Virginia Union University.

He came to Richmond as minister of music for Trinity Baptist Church.

For 34 years, he also taught conducting, theory and percussion at the Gospel Music Workshop of America Inc., founded by the Rev. James Cleveland.

In December 2004, the Henrico Branch of the NAACP elected Dr. Vines president. Three years later, he became president of the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP. He was elected to another term in 2010.

In his NAACP role, “he always petitioned the government for restoration of voting rights of felons. That was very important to him,” his wife said.

“He was a down-to-earth person who saw worth and value in every human being.”

Dr. Vines was president emeritus of the Henrico Ministers’ Fellowship and the Baptist Ministers’ Union of Richmond and Vicinity. He was a former vice president of the clergy division of the Tuckahoe Baptist Association of Virginia and a former corresponding secretary of the Virginia Baptist State Convention Inc.

Survivors, besides his wife, include two daughters, Erika Powell of Henrico and Niani K. Vines of Glen Allen; a son, Joseph Rayfield Vines III of Glen Allen; a sister, Vivian Turner of Suffolk; a brother, Lloyd E. Vines of Grand Rapids, Mich.; and five grandchildren.


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by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

About life, preaching, church, books, and other stuff.

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