Velma Farrow Roland

Published 3:31 pm Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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Mrs. Velma Virginia Farrow Roland was called home to Glory on September 19, 2022. Born to the late William and Annie Lee Farrow in 1931 as their seventh child, Velma lived a life of grace, activism, hope, and possibility.

Growing up in Pantego, NC, with her parents and siblings, Velma was an inquisitive young girl who developed a love for reading at an early age. Her excitement for words, language, and literature, ignited a passion for teaching and education. Velma was also a lover of music, fashion, and, most notably, her faith in Christ.

After graduating from Pantego High School, Velma took her gifts and talents to Wilberforce College in Wilberforce, Ohio. She completed her undergraduate studies at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T), earning a Bachelor of Science degree in English and Social Studies. With her love for English, she later earned two Master’s degrees in English, one from Howard University in Washington, DC, and another from NC A&T State University. Additionally, Velma furthered her educational studies at Duke University in Durham, NC, pursuing doctoral studies. For 53 years, Mrs. Velma Roland devoted her life’s work to educating many young people and uplifting the marginalized.

Education was not her only passion. Living during a time when Black people were not valued or celebrated equally, Velma worked tirelessly to advocate for and improve living and working conditions for all people. Her partnership with Civil Rights attorneys Julius Chambers, James Ferguson, and the United States Department of Justice made her a “force to be reckoned with” within the community. Her active involvement in various civic organizations, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Color People, Beaufort County Branch, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the Key Women of America, Inc., secured her position as a change agent and activist. These organizations also positioned her as a dynamic orator and visionary–cementing her work as one of the founders of the Christian Academy in Washington, NC, her work with a soup kitchen, and with veterans returning home to our country after their heroic acts of service.

Mrs. Velma Virginia Farrow Roland was an unsung heroine with style, grace, and class. She was respected and loved by all who graced her presence, served God faithfully until her death. Velma was preceded in death by her husband Cicero Alexander Roland, her son Cicero Alexander Roland, Jr., and her daughter Melody Bonita Roland. Also, her siblings: Willie Morgan, Ernest, Earl, Blanche, James, Charles, Ledrew, Ruth, and Sondra. Velma leaves her daughters: Deborah Byars (Walter), Homestead, Florida, and Evonda (Belinda) Haith, Greensboro, NC, her brother: Carver Farrow (Freda), St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, fourteen grandchildren, twenty-eight great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, and friends to cherish, celebrate, and continue the legacy of her courageous work.

Leon Randolph Funeral Home in Washington, NC, is in charge of the funeral arrangements. Leon Randolph Funeral Home will host the visitation at 208 West M.L.K. Drive, Washington, N.C. 27889, from 4:00 pm-6:00 pm on Friday, October 7, 2022. Funeral services are at Weeping Mary Church of Christ, 90 Beach Ridge Road Pantego, N.C. 27860, Saturday, October 8 at 11:00 am, with burial to follow at Cedar Hill Cemetery Washington, N.C. 27888.