WIDENING THE DOORS
R alph Frasier ' 59
A Very Satisfying Life
trustees to the
and to a lesser
Black people were smart to think twice before they became involved in rights activism in the 1950s, at least publicly. For many, there was the
specter of retribution in the form oflosing their jobs.
Not so with LeRoy Frasier Sr. He worked for the
North Carolina Mutual Insurance Co., owned by
African-Americans. Although in some ofthe years
they were too young to understand what was hap-
pening in their home, his sons Ralph and LeRoy Jr.
were just upstairs from history.
"We lived about two blocks from the canlpus of
About ' 45 or ' 46,
Camp Butner Army
base, which had
been a prisoner of
war camp, was being
dismantled. The bar-
racks were being
sold for a nominal
price. My grandfa-
ther was a carpenter.
He hired a crew and
used the lumber and
stuff to build new
homes. I spent a
nails. This was used
to build our house.
"The house was,
standards, a larger
house. It had five
bedrooms in the
basement, and it wa
intended that those
house two students
each. Most of the
time there were 10
male students living
in the basement,
level students.At one time I felt like [ knew every
black lawyer in the state because they either lived
there or visited people who lived there."
Floyd McKissick ' 51, Harvey Beech ' 52 and Ken-
neth Lee ' 52 all lived there willie they were students
at N.C. Central University (then named N.C. Col-
lege). McKissick, in particular, was in the thick of the
legal battle to open Carolina to blacks. LeRoy Frasier
Sr. was deeply involved in the rights struggle as a
member of the Durham Committee on Negro
Affairs. His sons filed applications to Carolina, which
routinely rejected them on the grounds that separate-
but-equal schools were available to them.
M ay l ]lIlI e 2002
PHOTO lIY JO MCCULTY