The first African-American to serve on the N.C. Supreme Court, as well as its first Chief Justice, Henry Frye is widely recognized as one of the leading legal minds in North Carolina. While no longer involved in the day-to-day practice of law, he continues to advise and counsel on a variety of legal issues.
While he is no longer active in the daily practice of law, Henry still advises attorneys throughout the firm on appellate advocacy, mediation and commercial arbitration. He is available for consultation with other lawyers on specific legal and strategic matters.
Commissioned portrait hung in the courtroom of the University of North Carolina School of Law, 2014
Thornton H. Brooks Leadership Award, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, 2013
North Caroliniana Society Award, The North Caroliniana Society, 2008
Power of Justice Award, Business Leader Magazine and NC Bar, 2008
Distinguished Service Award, Greensboro Bar Association, 2008
John J. Parker Award, North Carolina Bar Association, 2007
American Judicature Society Justice Award, 2006
Citation for Distinguished Public Service, North Carolina Citizens for Business & Industry, 2006
William H. Hastie Award for Excellence in Legal Scholarship, Judicial Counsel of the NBA, 2004
Liberty Bell Award, NC Bar Association, 2004
Laurel Wreath Award, Kappa Alpha Psi, 2003
William Richardson Davie Award, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2002
W. E. B. DuBois Award, Association of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2002
Outstanding Alumnus Award, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1995
Charles McIver Award, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 1986
R. R. Wright Award, National Bankers Association, 1983
Carolina Peacemaker Award, 1983
First NC A&T State University Alumni Excellence Award, 1971
Honorary Doctorate Degrees: UNC-Greensboro, 2006; Florida Memorial College, 2004; UNC-Asheville, 2003; East Carolina University, 2001; Fayetteville State University, 2000; Livingstone College, 1999; NC A&T State University, 1983; Shaw University, 1971
Justice Henry Frye brings to the firm a wide variety of legal and professional experiences, including over 24 years in the private practice of law, 14 years in the North Carolina General Assembly, 10 years as president of a local bank, two years as an assistant U.S. attorney, two years as a law school professor, and more than 17 years on the Supreme Court of North Carolina. He was a munitions officer with the United States Air Force in Japan and Korea, and later served as a Judge Advocate General Area Representative with the Air Force Reserve.
In 1968, he became the first African-American to be elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in the 20th Century. He served in the State House for 12 years and was then elected to a two-year term in the North Carolina Senate.
In 1983, Justice Frye became the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court of North Carolina. He was appointed by N.C. Governor Jim Hunt to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in September 1999, another first.
He retired from the Court, effective January 1, 2001, and shortly thereafter joined Brooks Pierce. He is a recognized business leader and community advocate. He has held leadership roles in many nonprofit, academic, professional and civic organizations, and is continually recognized for his dedication and contributions to state and local communities.