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date: 12 April 2021

Frazier, Edward Franklin locked

1894–1962 African American sociologist and activist famed for his pioneering studies of black families and his critique of the black middle class.
  • 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.

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