Jefferson P. Rogers, educator, pastor, civil rights leader, and the former director of the Center for Community Change, died earlier this month in Daytona, Florida. He was 97 years old.
Rogers was a native of Quincy, Florida, and graduated from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee in 1940. He then received a scholarship to Howard University in Washington, D.C., and earned a master’s degree in religion and philosophy. He later earned a graduate degree in social ethics from Yale Divinity School.
Rogers settled in Washington, D.C., and in 1958 founded the Church of the Redeemer, where he was pastor for 12 years. During this period, he was the director of the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and became a close confident of Martin Luther King Jr. He later led churches in Boston and New York before moving to Florida.
Rogers served on the faculty at Florida Memorial University and established the Howard Thurman Distinguished Lecture Series in conjunction with Stetson University in DeLand, Florida.