Chief Justice Henry E. Frye is a native of Ellerbe in Richmond County. He was his high school valedictorian, a Summa Cum Laude graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, and an honor graduate from the UNC-Chapel Hiss School of law. He practiced law for several decades before he was admitted to the Federal District, Fourth Circuit Court of appeals. In 1983, he became the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court of North Carolina where he later was appointed Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Judge Frye also had political ambitions. In 1968, Judge Frye became the first African –American to serve in the North Carolina House of Representatives in the Twentieth Century. He later gained a seat in the North Carolina Senate. Judge Frye’s leadership was evident in both the judicial and political arenas as he inspired, empowered, and influenced positive change.
Judge Frye’s awards and commendations include the UNC- Chapel Hill Distinguished Alumni Award, North Carolina A&T State University Alumni Excellence Award, The Charles D. McIver Medal, an honorary doctorate from East Carolina University, The National Bankers Association R.R. Wright Award, The Association of Black lawyers “ Lawyer of the Year Award”, and the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyer’s Appellate Judges Award. He currently resides in Greensboro and is in private law practice where he is an “of counsel” member of the Brooks Pierce Firm.