Frazier, Edward Franklin
- Lawrie Balfour
Taught from an early age that education was the key to both personal success and social justice, E. Franklin Frazier used his learning as a weapon during his lifelong battle against racial inequality. In a tribute to Frazier, the Journal of Negro Education called him “a nonconformist, a protester, a gadfly.” He attacked the pretension of the black middle class and went to jail for picketing D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation, a film that perpetuated demeaning stereotypes of African Americans. Frazier publicly defended W. E. B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson, although by doing so he risked being branded a Communist.
Frazier grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., on scholarship. Shortly after graduating from Howard with honors in 1916 he began his career as a professor Despite teaching commitments throughout the 1920s and 1930s Frazier earned a master ...
A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.