Men who helped desegregate UNC honored

September 17, 2010 9:33:01 PM PDT
The three men who broke the color barrier at UNC Chapel Hill 55 years ago are being honored.This weekend, the university is honoring the men who helped desegregate the school by fighting for and winning the right to attend classes at the university.

Students at UNC took a step back in time Friday afternoon to hear abotu a case that ended up in the nation's highest court.

"It is a history lesson and I'm so glad that we've been able to share it with all the students here and the faculty," UNC Alum Ralph Frasier said.

John Brandon and brothers, Ralph and Leroy Frasier, are pillars in their community. But 55 years ago, they were the only African American students among 6,000 undergraduates at UNC Chapel Hill.

"I was threatened a few times by some bad boys," UNC Alum Leroy Frasier said.

"It's been a long time and in some cases hard to come back and relive some of the experiences that we had here," Ralph Frasier said.

It took a legal fight all the way to the US Supreme Court to help them gain entry into the university. The then-UNC Board of Trustees voted to bar black students from campus.

While the UNC campus touts one of the largest black student populations at a public university today, the civil rights pioneers take pride in not only their brave steps, but the doors they've opened.

"When you come to this place, you come to execute and you come for that purpose," Ralph Frasier said. "You come for higher learning, you need to apply yourself."

The celebration of the 55th anniversary continues over the weekend. All three men will be recognized Saturday at the UNC Chapel Hill football game.

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