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Ralph Frazier, the last surviving member of the University of Southern California's first cohort of black students, has died at the age of 85

One of the first black students to enroll at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has died.

Ralph Frazier was 85 years old when he died May 8. He was the last living member of UNC's first three black undergraduate student-athletes.

All three of the first three students were from Hillside High School in Durham: Fraser, his brother Leroy, and John Lewis Brandon.

All three applied to UNC a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that separate but equal schools were unconstitutional. The university rejected all three, and the UNC Board of Trustees has publicly stated that the Brown ruling does not apply to colleges and universities.

The three men sued the Board of Trustees and won, thanks in part to the help of NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall, who was later appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

None of these three ended up graduating, but their actions paved the way for thousands of others.

Three years after enrolling at UNC, Frazier went into the Army. He later earned bachelor's and law degrees from what is now North Carolina Central University. He went on to have a brilliant career as an attorney.

UNC's first black students attended professional schools - for example, Harvey Beach, James Lassiter, J. Kenneth Lee, Floyd McKissick and James Robert Walker, who enrolled at the UNC School of Law in 1951.

Karen Parker became UNC's first black undergraduate student in 1963. The university's first black faculty member was Hortensia McClinton, who began teaching in the UNC School of Social Work in 1966.

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