Statue Unveiled in Honor of Justice Henry and Shirley Frye


On Feb. 20, a statue of Chief Justice Henry E. Frye and his wife of 67 years, Shirley Frye was unveiled at Center City Park in Greensboro. The ceremony was an opportunity to honor the many contributions the couple has made to the state of North Carolina, the Greensboro community, and many local nonprofit, academic, civic and professional organizations. The ceremony was attended by members of the Frye family, guests and state and local officials including North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, who spoke in tribute to the couple. Brooks Pierce partner and Director of Diversity and Inclusion Justin Outling also spoke at the event sharing fond memories of his time spent with Justice Frye over many sub sandwiches and gratitude for his wise counsel and guidance throughout the years.

The Fryes have called Greensboro home over the last 70 years and both graduated from North Carolina A&T State University in 1953. Shirley Frye worked in various education and community positions for more than five decades, including serving on many local boards. She was also the vice president and member of the Greater Greensboro United Way and served as the vice president of community relations for WFMY News 2.

Justice Frye, who retired from Brooks Pierce in 2016, broke many racial barriers during his long and storied career. In 1963, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of North Carolina as one of the first Black federal prosecutors in the South. He won election to the North Carolina General Assembly in 1968—the first Black person to do so since 1899. After serving in the NC House and the Senate, he was appointed to the North Carolina Supreme Court in 1983. Justice Frye was the first Black jurist to sit on the state’s highest bench. In 1999, he became the court’s first Black chief justice. After seventeen years on the bench, he joined Brooks Pierce in 2001 and is now retired from private practice. He continues to inspire future generations of attorneys through the Brooks Pierce Chief Justice Henry E. Frye Diversity Summer Fellowship established in 2017.

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