Susan Elizabeth Frazier

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Susan Elizabeth Frazier
Susan Elizabeth Frazier 1919.jpg
Susan Elizabeth Frazier
BornMay 29, 1864
New York City
DiedFebruary 3, 1924
New York City
OccupationNew york city public school teacher

Susan Elizabeth Frazier (May 29, 1864 – February 3, 1924) was a thought leader on the issues of women's and African American's rights and capacity. She was an active and accomplished substitute teacher in New York City Public Schools at a time when such opportunities for African American women were very limited.

On February 16, 1892 she delivered an address to an audience of the Brooklyn Literary Union, called "Some Afro American Women of Mark" which has been referenced from its time of first presentation, through to contemporary books and dissertations today.

In 1894 Frazier applied for the position of New York City public school teacher, at a school with white students. Later that year she received a request to meet in person with School 58 principal F. W. James. Upon meeting her, James declined to appoint her due to her African heritage, saying such an appointment could "cause trouble." At the time, African-Americans were restricted to teaching only other African Americans.[1][2][3]

She is quoted as saying at the time, "There are colored teachers in the schools of Brooklyn, Jersey City, Boston and other cities, and I think it time that the color line was obliterated in appointing a teacher in New York City."[4]

So she took her case to the courts, which initially rejected her plea in 1895. But she was eventually appointed May 26, 1896.[5]

During World War I she was president of the Women's Auxiliary of the Old Fifteenth National Guard, an African American troop, and continued to work with the 369th Infantry as it became to be known.[6] She took a trip to England, Belgium and France in 1919. Upon her death in 1924, full military honors were held in the 369th Regiment Armory and her casket was draped with the American flag.[7][8] She was the great-granddaughter of African American Revolutionary War Veteran Andrew Frazier.


  1. ^ "CSPAN Jeffrey Sammons discusses his book "Harlem's Rattlers and the Great War"". Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  2. ^ "First of her race on the list". New York Sun. March 3, 1895. p. 8.
  3. ^ "Barred out by color". New York Herald. October 30, 1895. p. 8.
  4. ^ "That school color line: Miss Frazier inclined to continue her contest". New York Sun. October 31, 1895. p. 8.
  5. ^ "Susan Elizabeth Frazier" The Gazette, Cleveland, OH, 1896-07-04, p. 1.
  6. ^ "More negro regiments to be formed for the regular army: 75 train to become officers". New York Age. May 17, 1917. p. 1.
  7. ^ "Profiles of black women in black history". The Tribunal Aid. North Carolina. June 16, 1976.
  8. ^ "Miss Susan Elizabeth Frazier" "The Historical Cookbook of the American Negro," The National Council of Negro Women, Height & Bower, Beacon Press, Boston, p. 42.


  • Maffly-Kipp, Laurie (2010). Women's Work: An Anthology of African-American Women's Historical Writings from Antebellum America to the Harlem Renaissance. Oxford University Press.
  • Mitchell & Taylor (2009). The Cambridge Companion to African American Women's Literature.
  • Brown, Nikki (2006). Private Politics and Public Voices: Black Women’s Activism from World War I to the New Deal.
  • Yellin, Jean (1991). The Pen is Ours: A Listing of Writings by and about African-American Women Before 1910 with Secondary Bibliography to the Present. Oxford University Press.
  • Notable American Women, 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary. 1971.
  • Dannett, Sylvia (1964). Profiles of Negro Womanhood: 1619–1900. Educational Heritage.
  • Brown, Hallie Q. (1926). Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction. Xenia, OH: The Aldine Publishing Company.

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