In Memoriam: LeRoy Frasier, 1937-2017

LeRoy Frazier is on the left

LeRoy Frasier, one of the first three African American students to enroll as undergraduates at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, died from heart failure on December 29 in New York. He was 80 years old.

In 1955 Frasier, his brother Ralph, and John Lewis Brandon, all students from the same high school in Durham applied to the university. The university rejected their applications but a court ruled that they be admitted. Once they enrolled, the Black students lived on a separate floor in a dormitory, were segregated at football games with the Black custodial staff, and were barred from the university’s golf course and inn. The brothers reported that students and faculty were hostile to their presence on campus.

Neither LeRoy or his brother Ralph graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Each earned a bachelor’s degree at historically Black North Carolina Central University.

After Frasier’s death, Chancellor Carol L. Folt said in a statement: “LeRoy was a true pioneer and historic figure in Carolina’s history, and his legacy of leadership, courage and self-sacrifice made a lasting impact on our university community. LeRoy’s contributions to Carolina will live on through our students who receive scholarships bearing his name.”

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  1. Mr. Frasier and his brother continue to be inspirations to many of us here at the Stone Center for Black Culture and History. Amen to the words of Ralph Frasier, Jr.

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