North Carolina A&T State University has announced that it has acquired the the personal archives of Henry E. and Shirley T. Frye. The collection represents more than five decades of materials that document the Fryes’ legacy in civil rights, social justice, and civic engagement. The Justice Henry E. and Shirley T. Frye Archival Collection will be preserved, protected and made accessible to the university, the public, and the world for study, research and discussion.
The Fryes both graduated from the university in 1953 and went on to become local, state and national trailblazers, each in their own right.
Shirley Frye earned a bachelor’s degree in education and English. She then taught at Washington Elementary School before earning a master’s degree in special education and psychology. Later, she returned to A&T as assistant vice chancellor for development and university relations and as special assistant to the chancellor. Later, she served serve as special assistant to the president and director of planned giving at neighboring Bennett College.
Henry Frye served in the Air Force after graduating from North Carolina A&T State University. In 1959, he became the first African American to complete all three years of study and graduate from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Henry Frye was the first African American assistant U.S. district attorney (1963); the first Black man in the twentieth century to be elected to the North Carolina General Assembly (1968); the first African American appointed to the North Carolina Supreme Court (1983); and the first African American chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court (1999).