Hardy T. Frye, a long-time member of the ISSI community, died at home in Berkeley on June 16. Born and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama, after high school he joined the U.S. Army. After discharge, he went to Los Angeles and quickly became involved in the Civil Rights Movement. In the summer of l964 he went to Mississippi to join Freedom Summer. He was a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Field Secretary in Mississippi and Alabama from 1964-1967. His political work was recognized in two popular documentaries "American Experience" (1988) and "Berkeley in the Sixties" (1990).
In this brief video, recorded in 2014, he offers some recollections from his time with SNCC.
In 1975, he earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Berkeley. He accepted an appointment at Yale as an Assistant Professor in 1976, where he taught for one year. After that, he returned to UCB as a post-doc, and he was involved with the formation of the Institute for the Study of Social Change, which later became the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues. He then went on to become a faculty member at UC Santa Cruz and to work for the University of California Office of the President promoting equity systemwide. His book, Black Parties and Political Power: A Case Study, was published in 1980. He also served as Director of the US Peace Corps in Guyana.
After his retirement, he came back to Berkeley as a lecturer in African American Studies, shaping a new generation of students (one of those students, Celtics player Jaylen Brown, paid tribute to him), and those of us at the institute had the pleasure of interacting with him frequently. We will miss his astute comments delivered in a gravelly Southern drawl and appreciate all his contributions over the years. Representative Barbara Lee honored Professor Frye by commemorating him in the Congressional Record.
Above: Hardy Frye with Janice Tanigawa, long-time office manager of the Institute, in 2009; Above right: Hardy Frye with Troy Duster, Founder of the institute