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  --  1868-1925   Table of Contents     MARGARET MURRAY WASHINGTON
  --  1865-1925

Brown, Hallie Q.
Homespun heroines



Miss Susan Elizabeth Frazier

Miss Susan Elizabeth Frazier was born in the city of New York, May 29, 1864. She was the daughter of Louis M. and Helen Eldridge Frazier. She attended the public schools and graduated from Hunter College in 1888. She was named as a substitute teacher in the public schools of New York and served in that capacity until appointed as an additional teacher in 1895.

She was the daughter of a noble father whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War and the subject of this sketch exhibited many of their fine characteristics of patriotism and loyalty. It was reserved for Miss Frazier to contend for justice and equal rights for herself and many women who followed her.

Thirty years ago as a graduate from the Normal College, Miss Frazier became eligible for appointment as teacher in the public schools. For no apparent reason except the fact of her color the appointment was from time to time deferred. She retained an attorney who applied to a Supreme Court Judge for a Writ of Mandamus against the school authorities to act in the matter. The Judge refused to issue the writ upon some technical point and stated his convictions that the school authorities would not refuse to appoint an eligible candidate for teacher because of her color. Miss Frazier refused to carry the court proceedings any further. A few months later she received her appointment which she held until her death. She was the first colored teacher in a mixed school in New York.

Her appointment caused a wave of opposition, which soon subsided when the character and ability of Miss Frazier

became known. She proved to be one of the most successful teachers in the whole system and won a high place in the estimation of the school authorities during her long term of office.

Miss Frazier had an ideal home life. She possessed a charming personality which attracted many to her side who admired her as a model woman and a loyal friend. In a quiet and cheerful manner she assumed great responsibilities. She organized and became the enthusiastic president of the "Woman' Auxiliary to the Old Fifteenth National Guard" during the World War and served until her death. Under her administration this organization did splendid work in the interest of the colored soldiers serving in France and continued this work afterward with the 369th Infantry New York National Guard, successor to the wartime regiment. The organization rendered to the wives and relatives of the soldiers valuable assistance and endeared her to the hearts of the destitute and bereaved.

After the World War, the New York Evening Telegram inaugurated a contest among teachers of the public schools for trips to the European battle fields to be awarded to the most popular contestants. Miss Frazier was one of the winners and made the trip to France and other countries with the winning teachers.

For many years she gave her efforts toward Social Uplift work by serving as president of the Woman's Loyal Union. She was an active member of the congregation of St. Phillip's Protestant Episcopal Church, for many years a teacher in the Sunday School and served as president of the Church Missionary Society.

In recognition of her unswerving exertions, as a fitting close to her splendid career, full military honors were held in the 369th Regiment Armory and fitting eulogies were declaimed by the commanding officers. The casket was draped with the American flag and taps were sounded by the Regiment bugler. This is said to be the first time in our country's history that full military honors were paid

at a funeral service of a colored woman. A day later St. Phillip's Protestant Episcopal Church was crowded to capacity to pay tribute to the beloved teacher and friend. On June 21, 1925 a tablet in her memory was unveiled at St. Phillip's Church with the following inscription:

To the Glory of God and
In Loving Memory of
Susan Elizabeth Frazier
May 29, 1864--February 6, 1924

A graduate of Hunter College and a teacher in the Public Schools of this City.

Her life work was performed with an unselfish devotion to duty. In every undertaking she gave her best. Her unfaltering courage under conviction, graced by a kindly spirit, earned for her many treasured friendships.

This tablet is placed in her Parish Church by her friends, teachers of Greater New York, as a tribute to her worth and character.

Requiescat in pace

"Until the day break and the shadows flee away."


  --  1868-1925   Table of Contents     MARGARET MURRAY WASHINGTON
  --  1865-1925