E. Franklin Frazier, prominent and controversial sociologist
On this date in 1894, E. Franklin Frazier was born. He was an African American sociologist.
Born in Baltimore, Md., Edward Franklin Frazier received his A. B. from Howard University in 1916 and his A. M. in sociology from Clark University in 1920. After he was awarded a fellowship to the New York School of Social Work (1920-21), he accepted an American-Scandinavian Foundation grant to study folk high schools and the Cooperative Movement in Denmark from 1921-22.
After he returned to the United States, he taught sociology at Morehouse College, Atlanta, where he organized the Atlanta University School of Social Work for Blacks, later becoming its director.
Frazier was a Russell Sage Foundation Fellow at the New York School (later Columbia University) of Social Work. When his article, "The Pathology of Race Prejudice," was published in Forum magazine in 1927, Frazier was forced to leave Morehouse. His article argues that racial prejudice is analogous to insanity. Even today, the argument stirs strong reactions.
Frazier received a fellowship from the University of Chicago in 1927, where he took his Ph.D. in 1931. Publication of his thesis, "The Negro Family in Chicago," in 1932 sustained the university's interest in his work on the Black family.
He taught at Fisk University (1929-34) and then at Howard University starting in 1934, then served as director of the Division of Applied Social Sciences for UNESCO from 1951-53, where he worked on the Tension and Social Change Project, assessing the interactions between people of different races and cultures and the effect of these interactions on each community.
"The Negro Family in the United States," published in 1939, was among the first sociological works on Blacks researched and written by a Black. Frazier also wrote "Negro Youth at the Crossways" (1940) and "Race and Culture Contacts in the Modern World" (1957), which dealt with African studies. Later that year, he wrote "Black Bourgeoisie," which focused on the African-American middle class.
His work on Black social structure provided insights into and solutions to many of the problems affecting the Black community.
E. Franklin Frazier died May 17, 1962, in Washington, D. C.
African Americans/Voices of Triumph
by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Copyright 1993, TimeLife Inc.
Frazier, E. Franklin
Today in American History