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Frances Frazier

Education consultant and life coach Frances Curtis Frazier was born on May 19, 1948 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Patsy Thompson Curtis, a homemaker and William Henry Curtis, a building manager. In 1966, she graduated from Little Flower Catholic High School. After high school, Fran applied to become a Vista Volunteer, the national forerunner of the current Vista Program. She was in one of the first groups of this national initiative for young people to become part of “The Great America”. She studied at John Hopkins University and worked with maternal deprivation babies. Later she was sent to Portsmouth, Virginia in a small community to help residents who were being harassed by the Klu Klux Klan. Fran taught peanut farmers how to read and write. It was after her Vista experience that with the help of a local school principal she entered Norfolk State University and in 1972 received her B.S. degree in special education. Fran received a Master/Doctoral fellowship to attend The Ohio State University and graduated with her M.A. degree in learning disabilities and behavioral disorders in 1973.

In 1986, Frazier was a special education teacher for Columbus City Schools, working primarily with seventh and eighth graders. After working as a special needs coordinator for the National Assault Prevention Center of Columbus, Ohio from 1985 to 1987, Frazier was hired to the executive staff for the Director of the Ohio Department of Human Services. While at the Department of Human Services, Frazier worked for the Office of Minority Family Preservation and Prevention Services and served as an administrator for cultural initiatives. She has also served as an education and school climate consultant for universities, colleges, professional associations, school districts, and social service agencies across the country. Since 1979, Frazier has established programs, conducted retreats and given presentations on issues of sisterhood, spiritual development and self-empowerment.

In her current role, Frazier is the principal investigator of “Rise Sister Rise,” a research study on trauma and resiliency in African American girls that was developed in partnership with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and women’s organizations across the state. Additionally, Frazier serves as a senior associate for Everyday Democracy, an organization that promotes public dialogue and civic engagement in communities and workplaces.

Frazier has received numerous awards and commendations for her work including the Black Family Award from the Columbus Urban League for co-creating “Black Family Week” in the state of Ohio; the “Woman of the Year” Award from the Eldon W. Ward YMCA; the “Women Making A Difference Award for Community Leadership” from the Ohio Department of Health; from Triedstone Missionary Baptist Church she received the “Remarkable Women’s Award” for her work in the Columbus community. She has also garnered the YWCA “Woman of Achievement Award” in Racial Justice and recognition from the State of Ohio for engaging state employees to participate in workplace dialogues on racism. Frazier has received the “Golden Rulers Award” from the Columbus, Ohio School Board. She is also a recipient of the “Living Faith” Award from the Columbus Metropolitan Area Church Council.

Frances Curtis Frazier was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 6, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.078

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/4/2012 |and| 5/10/2013

Last Name

Frazier

Maker Category
Middle Name

Curtis

Schools

The Ohio State University

Norfolk State University

Little Flower Catholic High School

St. Elizabeth's Parochial School

The DePaul Catholic School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Days

First Name

Frances

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

FRA08

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

5th - 12th grade African american girls; adults

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $100

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Near Water, Nature

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

5/19/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Columbus

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pastries

Short Description

Social activist and education consultant Frances Frazier (1948 - ) is an education and civic leader in the State of Ohio, having established programs, conducted retreats and given presentations on issues of sisterhood, spiritual development and self-empowerment across the country. She is the principal investigator for the ground-breaking research on trauma and resiliency in African American girls in Ohio, “Rise Sister Rise.”

Employment

Freelance Work

Everyday Democracy

Ohio Department of Human Services

Buckeye Boys Ranch

Columbus City Schools

National Assault Prevention Center

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Frances Frazier's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frances Frazier lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Frances Frazier talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frances Frazier describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frances Frazier talks about her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Frances Frazier talks about how her mother and how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Frances Frazier recalls advice her mother shared with her as a teenager

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Frances Frazier talks about her father, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frances Frazier talks about her father, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frances Frazier talks about her parents' employment as a maid and butler in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frances Frazier describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frances Frazier describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Frances Frazier describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Frances Frazier describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Frances Frazier talks about her childhood neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Frances Frazier talks about her siblings and attending a Catholic elementary school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Frances Frazier recalls her experience at St. Elizabeth's Parochial School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Frances Frazier talks about moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's Nicetown neighborhood and attending Catholic schools

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frances Frazier talks about attending St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's Nicetown neighborhood

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frances Frazier talks about her desire as a teenager to become a nun

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frances Frazier talks about Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frances Frazier talks about her taste in music as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Frances Frazier talks about a turbulent period of her youth and moving into a federal housing project in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Frances Frazier explains how observing domestic violence as an adolescent affected her personality

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Frances Frazier talks about her home life during her high school years

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Frances Frazier talks about writing short stories and plays as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Frances Frazier talks about how the 1963 March on Washington influenced her plans for the future

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Frances Frazier talks about her decision to join VISTA after graduating from high school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Frances Frazier talks about joining the VISTA program in 1963

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Frances Frazier talks about a year of service with the VISTA program in the Mount Hermon community of Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Frances Frazier recalls being threatened by Ku Klux Klan members while serving in the VISTA program in Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Frances Frazier talks about VISTA training and teaching in Portsmouth, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Frances Frazier talks about her decision to enroll at Norfolk State College in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Frances Frazier talks about mentors and her mother's reaction to her rebellious behavior

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Frances Frazier talks about social mores at Norfolk State College during the late 1960s and early 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Frances Frazier talks about black college basketball players during the late 1960s and early 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Frances Frazier talks about the special education program at Norfolk State College in Norfolk, Virginia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Frances Frazier recalls the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Frances Frazier talks about volunteering in Norfolk, Virginia's Ghent neighborhood while a student at Norfolk State College

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Frances Frazier talks about enrolling in a master's program at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Frances Frazier talks about Dr. Frank Hale and his efforts to increase diversity at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Frances Frazier talks about the transition from Norfolk State College to The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Frances Frazier talks about applying theories in special education to her work with children with learning and behavioral disorders

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Frances Frazier talks about her decision not to complete her doctoral studies at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Frances Frazier talks about teaching boys with behavioral disorders at Buckeye Boys Ranch

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Frances Frazier recounts a spiritual experience she had after her husband's death

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Frances Frazier describes physical and psychological changes she felt after having a spiritual experience

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Frances Frazier talks about the origins of her women's group, A Quality of Sharing

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Frances Frazier talks about the inspiration for and the philosophy of her women's group, A Quality of Change

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Frances Frazier talks about reading women's literature and the early meetings of her women's group, A Quality of Sharing

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Frances Frazier's interview, session two

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Frances Frazier talks about the philosophy of her women's group, A Quality of Sharing

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Frances Frazier talks about community responses to her women's group, A Quality of Sharing

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Frances Frazier talks about working for the Ohio Association for Retarded Citizens

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Frances Frazier talks about the origins and development of Black Youth Week and Black Family Week in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Frances Frazier talks about Reverend Dr. Charles Booth and her Sunday morning radio show, Focus on the Family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Frances Frazier talks about her Sunday morning radio show, Focus on the Family

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Frances Frazier talks about her working for the Child Assault Prevention Project

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Frances Frazier talks about the impact of Grace Williams and HistoryMaker Dorothy Height on the YWCA

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Frances Frazier explains her definition of womanism and how it informed the activities of her women's group, A Quality of Sharing

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Frances Frazier talks about African American women leaders of the 19th century

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Frances Frazier talks about attending the Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Frances Frazier describes her experience at the Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Frances Frazier talks about organizing around women's health issues in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Frances Frazier talks about attending a women's summit in Moscow, Soviet Union and working for the Ohio Department of Human Services

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Frances Frazier talks about a spiritual calling that influenced her plans for the future

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Frances Frazier explains the role of spiritual directors within the Catholic church

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Frances Frazier talks about the end of her career at the Ohio Department of Human Services

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Frances Frazier talks about the origins of the Women's Day of Prayer in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Frances Frazier talks about Reverend Dr. Leon Troy and Second Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Frances Frazier talks about her relationship with Reverend Dr. Leon Troy

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Frances Frazier describes husbands' reactions to her women's empowerment activities

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Frances Frazier recalls the incident that inspired her to organize a national women's conference

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Frances Frazier explains her motivations for organizing the Conference for the Awakened Woman

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Frances Frazier explains how the Women's Movement stifled the political empowerment of black women, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Frances Frazier explains how the Women's Movement stifled the political empowerment of black women, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Frances Frazier talks about the sabotage of the Conference for Awakened Women in the early 2000s

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Frances Frazier talks about the relationship between the African American community and immigrant groups in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Frances Frazier talks about the purpose of federal refugee funds

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Frances Frazier talks about early experiences working with girls on issues of aggression and victimization

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Frances Frazier talks about her various professional roles, including consultant and community organizer

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Frances Frazier talks about the origins of the research study, Rise Sister Rise, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Frances Frazier talks about the origins of the research study, Rise Sister Rise, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Frances Frazier talks about the planning period for the research study, Rise Sister Rise

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Frances Frazier talks about the Ohio cities selected for the research study, Rise Sister Rise

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Frances Frazier details the findings of her research study, Rise Sister Rise, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Frances Frazier details the findings of her research study, Rise Sister Rise, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Frances Frazier talks about the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Frances Frazier talks about the participant selection process and survey criteria for the research study, Rise Sister Rise

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Frances Frazier talks about partnerships and events organized in the wake of the Rise Sister Rise research study findings

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Frances Frazier talks about her hopes for the research study, Rise Sister Rise

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Frances Frazier talks about partner organizations and funding for the research study, Rise Sister Rise

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Frances Frazier talks about her future plans for the research study, Rise Sister Rise

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Frances Frazier talks about a future event she would like to organize

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Frances Frazier talks about what she would have done differently in life

Tape: 12 Story: 9 - Frances Frazier reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Frances Frazier talks about women she has mentored

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Frances Frazier reflects upon her life

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Frances Frazier describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Frances Frazier narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Frances Frazier narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Frances Frazier recalls being threatened by Ku Klux Klan members while serving in the VISTA program in Portsmouth, Virginia
Frances Frazier talks about the inspiration for and the philosophy of her women's group, A Quality of Change
Transcript
Now, tell us that story now about the [Ku Klux] Klan [KKK] shooting at you. There's gotta be a whole story to that.$$It was. Well, they didn't necessarily want us in this community [Mount Hermon, Portsmouth, Virginia]. And we were at a--we were doing our shopping like at a Kroger, but it wasn't as sophisticated as a Kroger but, and a group of Klan members started walking around the--inside the parking lot.$$Now, how did you know they were Klan members?$$Because they were dressed in white.$$With the hoods?$$With the hoods.$$That's a good--$$It's a good way to know.$$Yes.$$So I just happened to look out there, and I said, "Marcia [ph.], look." So we both look out, and we see these guys walking around in the parking center. (Laughter) And we didn't take our groceries out of the shopping cart. We just paid and drove the shopping cart home. And we peed in our pants all the way home. We were scared to death. We pulled the blinds and the shades and stuff down, just really scared. So we called--I even remember this woman's name, but I won't call it. But she was with VISTA [Volunteers in Service to America, later, AmeriCorps VISTA]. She was like our VISTA contact. So we called her and said, "You know, the Klan's in our neighborhood and just need to know what to do." And we didn't get--I can't remember what she said, "Don't leave your community. Stay with your community." And so we're thinking, it might not be good to stay with our community because we had really gotten to know these people. And we felt that they could burn their houses down. You know, I knew they were coming to burn our house down. They could burn them or they could really harm the people. If they were looking for us, then it might be better if we left our neighborhood. So we--you know, when I think about it now, it's like, was this real? But anyway, we put scarves on our heads. We tried to disguise ourselves and you had, then, you had to take a ferry from Portsmouth [Virginia] to Norfolk [Virginia]. So that's what we did. And there were VISTAS in Norfolk, so we stayed with them. And the Feds caught a carload of these Klan members and they had Molotov cocktails. They had guns. They were really gonna try to kill us. So then this woman, who is our rep [representative], comes to Norfolk to see us. And like, she's like, "You should not have left your community. Stay in your community." And we're like, "We're nineteen years old now," you know? "We're doing the best we can. We're scared to death," and we didn't want our commun- we didn't want people in our community to--I mean they could've bombed, you could have blown our house down with a good wind. So we just didn't wanna jeopardize, jeopardize our community. So eventually we went back and opened up a little daycare center for our community. And I continued working with peanut farmers, and we had our graduation. But then I was ready to go to college then.$Now explain to us what the crisis was where this would be necessary.$$Well, it was after Vietnam [War]. A lot of our men who were in college or who might have been considerable desirable mates, most of them had been killed in the Vietnam War, or when they had come back, they were suffering terribly from posttraumatic stress syndrome, or were now on heavy drugs. And it was just--our community had been decimated by the Vietnam War. And life for African American women during this time was awful. And Haki's [HM Haki Madhubuti] theory was that women are the light of the world and if women were not healthy mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually that neither would communities and neither would children, and eventually it would be our destruction. And he felt that our men, who were healthy, who were able-bodied, who were whole needed to step up and be those second husbands. Well, and June Jordan had subsequently had written about this as well. I read the article. I read the book. And I was kind of fixated on the article and I said to myself, "This won't happen." But I knew it was happening, and it was happening more than we knew in many places. And I think certainly man-sharing was happening even if it wasn't approved. But if I looked at it as a, as a potential possibility that might help our community, I wasn't sure it would be sanctioned by our community. Maybe a great idea, but not wholeheartedly approved of because I knew women would have a rough time with that, especially if you had a really great man who now felt that he should help two or three of the other women in the neighborhood with their children or with anything that a man might be needed for to help stabilize a family. So what I thought about was if women could learn how to really be friends with each other, actually learn how to love each other and care for each other, and create real sisterhood, that maybe that might help in stabilizing our communities and so A Quality of Sharing was our attempt at helping black women to learn how to love themselves, so that they would be comfortable enough to learn how to really create friendship and bonds of sisterhood with other women to get work done, to literally become change agents right in our own communities, so that became my work.