by Allen Casey
Theodore Bryant was present at the beginning when the North Carolina delegation and other state affiliates were expelled from the NFB. Subsequently, Theodore, Brady Jones, Marie Boring, Marvin Gatlin and Edwin Craddock — with the assistance of Durward K. McDaniel, Oral Miller and Floyd Qualls — became charter members of the fledgling North Carolina Council of the Blind. For the next half-century, Theodore maintained his loyalty to NCCB and ACB, including a life membership in ACB.
A North Carolina native, Theodore took degrees in agronomy from North Carolina A&T and the University of Illinois. He taught agriculture for several years until illness resulted in a loss of eyesight. After struggling with the challenges of impaired vision, he became actively involved in the organized blindness movement. Seeking opportunities to improve himself through education, he earned a law degree from North Carolina Central University.
The founding of the North Carolina Council of the Blind opened new vistas of service. He served as NCCB president and a board member for a number of years thereafter. Working first as a rehab counselor and later as a supervisor with the state Division of Services for the Blind, Theodore labored diligently for the creation of expanded employment opportunities for the visually impaired. Testifying on several occasions before legislative committees, he advocated for expanded programs and services and the requisite funding. He was appointed by the governor to the state Commission for the Blind and to other state-sponsored committees.
Theodore passed away Oct. 25, 2016, after a lengthy period of declining health at the age of 92. He never wavered from his commitment to the dignity and welfare of the visually impaired citizens of North Carolina. Throughout his life he exhibited a modest dignity born of years of service to others.