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Carolina pioneer LeRoy Frasier passes away at 80

Frasier, along with his brother and John Lewis Brandon, integrated the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1955.

Leroy Frasier, John Lewis Brandon and Ralph Frasier stand on the steps of South Building
Leroy Frasier, John Lewis Brandon and Ralph Frasier (left to right), on the steps of South Building, 1955. Photo credit: Roland Giduz Photographic Collection, P0033, North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill

Carolina has lost one of its historic pioneers.

LeRoy Frasier, one of the first African-American undergraduates to attend the University, passed away at the age of 80 on Dec. 29.

Frasier, his brother Ralph and John Lewis Brandon were the first undergraduate students to integrate the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1955, challenging racial segregation in North Carolina.

All three men went on to earn bachelor’s degrees from other universities, but paved the way for generations of future Carolina students. Frasier was one of the honorees for Carolina’s recent “noteworthy firsts” scholarships.

“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,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “LeRoy’s contributions to Carolina will live on through our students who receive scholarships bearing his name.”

Frasier earned a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central and a master’s degree from New York University. He served in the Peace Corps and taught English and English as a second language in Africa and the United States, including time at Hillside High School in Durham.