Featured photo: On July 18, council unanimously agreed to fund a statue of Justice Henry Frye, the first African-American chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and his wife Shirley Frye, a leader and activist in the community, in a downtown park. (screenshot)
Henry and Shirley Frye are a Greensboro power couple.
Henry Frye was the first African-American chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and also served as a state representative in the NC General Assembly, while helping to eliminate the vestiges of Jim Crow from state law. A schoolteacher, Shirley Frye helped integrate the two segregated YWCAs in Greensboro in the 1970s and was involved in a number of civic causes. The Fryes both graduated from NC A&T State University in 1953.
“Shirley and Henry Frye are friends, mentors, community leaders,” former District Three Councilmember Justin Outling said in July.
During the Jan. 2 city council meeting, Greensboro’s mayor and city councilmembers will honor the installation of a sculpture of the couple in Center City Park.
UPDATE: This honorarium was rescheduled to February.
“It’ll be a wonderful statue to commemorate the contributions of the Fryes to the city, the state and the country,” Outling told Triad City Beat in July.
Sculptor Maria Kirby-Smith was commissioned to create the piece. Kirby-Smith was also the artist behind the statues of Joseph Bryan, former Greensboro mayor and the O. Henry statue.
The sculpture has been funded and provided by the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, and the city accepted the statue in July. The statue will become the property of the city once it’s installed in the park.
Outling acknowledged that gifts often come with a price: once the statue becomes the city’s property, they’ll be responsible for its maintenance. “One of the things I came to appreciate as a council member was, there are gifts, but everything costs money,” Outling recognized.
Outling added that the city’s Parks and Recreation Director Phil Fleischmann worked with the foundation regarding some of the maintenance costs associated with it.
“Even when you get a wonderful statue, you have to think about the fact that it’s going to cost money over time to maintain that statue,” he continued.
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