Edgar G. Richards was born January 25, 1962, in Kingston, Jamaica, to Estelle
Richards and Edgar Richards, Sr. At the age of five, after the death
of his father, his mother moved Edgar and his brother to Hartford, Conn. It was
through the visionary eyes of his middle school gym teacher there, Ms. Cherrelle
Jiggits, that Edgar’s passion for the arts was ignited. She encouraged him to
train professionally and introduced him to The Hartford Ballet.
Juggling three jobs and one goal, Edgar saved money and moved for New
York City after a few years to become an apprentice at The Dance Theatre of
Harlem. During this rigorous training period he continued his academic studies
at The Professional Children’s School. Edgar’s exceptional talent awarded him a
scholarship to The School of the American Ballet under the artistic guidance of
George Balanchine. His drive for perfection led to further training at the
Pacific Northwest Ballet School. With a sparkle in his eye, Edgar performed as a
soloist with the State Ballet of Missouri, now known as the Kansas City
After several seasons with the Kansas City Ballet, he decided to pursue a
bachelor’s degree at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. While at
Morehouse, Edgar continued to use his remarkable skill in dance to enliven the
arts community as an instructor and choreographer to aspiring dancers. Edgar
loved Morehouse and continued to make cameo appearances in productions on campus
as well as the greater Atlanta community. After graduating with a degree in
English, Edgar moved to Washington, DC to pursue a law degree at the Howard
University School of Law.
Instilled with a concern for human harmony, Edgar commissioned himself the
responsibility of making positive changes in people, communities, and anything
he became involved in. His experience in law school prompted him to return to
his hometown of Hartford, where he could actively contribute to political
missions, working alongside the mayor and the state treasurer. He was refreshing
to the community, adding hope and broadening paths for future leaders and
dreamers. As the eldest of his siblings, the role of big brother was not
exclusive to his family. Edgar was as genuine to everyone he could possibly
mentor. His inspiration made everyone feel as though they were the most
important person in the world.
Knowing that the flame of true passion never ceases, Edgar and the arts went
center stage once again. He decided to return to his beloved city, New York, and
explore his ideas in arts management. He worked at Columbia Arts Management
(CAMI) managing the tours of the world’s finest operas, orchestras, and dance
Edgar loved life and lived everyday to its fullest. His love of travel was no
secret. He traveled the world going past the boundaries of tourism into
remote villages and exclusive destinations. He routinely took not one vacation…
not two or three, but most often four vacations a year—traveling widely and
frequently to Brazil, the South of France, the Caribbean, the Greek Isles, and
spent many summers in Martha’s Vineyard.
Over the past four years he fell in love with The Riverside Church and was a
leader in the Maranatha ministry bringing the concerns of the lesbian, gay and
bisexual community to The Riverside Church in the form of education and action,
while providing fellowship and spiritual community.
Edgar died on October 15, 2005, in Orlando, Florida. He is survived by his
partner, Antonio Stevens.
(This biographical statement provided by Bradford W.
Biography Date: March, 2006
Riverside Church (NYC) | African American | Artist/musician/poet | New York | New York City
“Edgar and I were classmates at Morehouse College. We were dorm and floor mates our first year there, and shared a major (English) before I switched to Philosophy. I remember the first time I saw Edgar dance. It was on the stage in the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse, our first year. Prior to seeing him on stage, I did not even know he was a dancer. And he was an AMAZING dancer.
Though we were not close friends, as Morehouse Brothers we relied upon each other. We worked on English assignments together and I even stayed in his off-campus residence during one of our school breaks while he was away. Edgar was just one of the gifted artist and students at Morehouse, but he stood out as a kind, compassionate, and curious person as well. I am proud to call him my Morehouse Brother and Friend. I just learned of his passing tonight. And learned that he passed in Florida, my home state. I presently live in Connecticut, his home state. Rest in Paradise, Edgar!”
– as remembered by Samuel T. Ross-Lee on February 22, 2014
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