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Rufus Frasier

Born on 1-10-1928. He was born in Lancaster, South Carolina. He later died on 6-28-2000.
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Rufus Frasier, a twin and the youngest of nine children was born January 10, 1928 in Lancaster, South Carolina. His parents were James and Emma Frasier. He moved to Buffalo to look for work and found employment at the American Standard plant. Following a brief tour of duty in the U.S. Army in the early 1950s, he was honorably discharged in 1953 and returned to American Standard until the plant closed in 1975. He also worked for the Buffalo Board of Education and Roswell Park Memorial Institute.

During his tenure at American Standard, Rufus became active in affairs of the United Steel Workers, Local Union 1199, AFL-CIO. He served as a union shop steward, vice president of the Local and chairman of the Civil Rights Committee. Rufus gained much of his labor/union expertise while attending Cornell Universityâ??s New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

In 1946, Rufus joined the Trinity Baptist Church where he was a faithful and active member. In 1969, Rufus married Frances Jackson. When Frances became gravely ill, Rufus cared for her. This union lasted until her death in September, 1983.

During the mid 1950s Rufus became active in the Buffalo Branch NAACP. He recalls the days when meetings were held in churches and at the Hickory Street Christian Center under the leadership of Presidents Peter Leftwich, Edgar Westbrook, Rev. James Hemphill, attorney William Sims, and the only female president, of that time, Pernell Byrd. In the turbulent, volatile 60s and 70s, he actively served with Presidents Raphael DuBard, Joseph Easley, Donald Lee, Rev. Milton Williams and Daniel R. Acker.

Mr. Frasier was elected Vice-President of the Buffalo Branch NAACP in 1974 and served in this capacity for 22 years with President Daniel Acker. When Mr. Acker died in May of 1997, Rufus assumed the Presidency and served in that capacity until his retirement in July, 1998. From the time of his election as Vice-President, Rufus was active in the daily operation of the NAACP office formerly located at 531 East Ferry and now at 1490 Jefferson Avenue. Additionally, he served as the co-chair of the Life Membership Committee, which reached over 500 Life Members during his tenure. Rufus took pride in the fact that his church, Trinity Baptist, was the first church to take a Life Membership in the Buffalo Branch NAACP.

Working with other civic organizations and community groups, Rufus was involved with massive voter registration campaigns, candidate forums and turn out the vote drives. As chair of the voter registration/education committee, he personally registered hundreds of eligible voters. Many Buffalonians will also recall when Rufus distributed the Buffalo Challenger from 1963 to 1968 building a large customer base in the Genesee, Sycamore, Broadway and Jefferson Avenue area.

Through the years, Mr. Frasier received numerous awards for his involvement in his church, civic organizations and the NAACP local and state affiliates. He was the recipient of the prestigious Medgar Evers Civil Rights Award, which is the highest award given by the local branch. In 1998, Rufus was given the Douglas Fraser Community Service Award, a national award given by the United Auto Workers to persons who have excelled in community service. This award is recorded in the archives at Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan.

In August 1998, when announcing his retirement as President of the Buffalo NAACP at a testimonial dinner in his honor, Mr. Fraiser stated, I am not retiring from the NAACP. I intend to remain active in voter registration, soliciting Life Memberships and in helping to maintain the operation of the headquarters.� Following his retirement, the Executive Board meeting voted unanimously that the Human relations award be renamed the Rufus Frasier Human Relations Award.

Mr. Frasier was described as â??a quiet but tireless foot solder to the civil rights cause. It was his involvement in the community and with the NAACP that earned him respect as a leader.â?

Mr. Frasier died on June 28, 2000. Mr. Fraiser had one son, Robert and three grandchildren.