Local News

Frye Sworn in as First Black N.C. Chief Justice

Posted September 6, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— North Carolina made history Tuesday as the first black member of thestate Supreme Courtwas sworn in as Chief Justice.

Chief JusticeHenry E. Fryerose from farmer's son to the highest judicial post in the state -- one of just a handful of black Chief Justices.

Frye replaces former Chief Justice Burley Mitchell, who retired earlier this year. Mitchell says the naming of Frye to the top post was a popular decision.

"It just couldn't happen at a better time that we have the first black chief justice and that he be someone of the moral strength and integrity of Chief Justice Henry Frye," says Mitchell.

Frye will fill Mitchell's unexpired term until November 2000.

Frye served in the legislature as a representative and state senator. He was named to North Carolina's highest court in 1983.

At Tuesday's ceremony, he thanked those who helped him succeed despite growing up during the Jim Crow years.

"I know that the world is full of problems, but I believe that we should treat our problems as challenges, opportunities to do what is right and good," says Frye.

Frye could run for the post in 2000 but could not serve a full term because justices must retire at age 72.

Wednesday, Franklin Freeman will be sworn in as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.