Hardy Frye
(1939 – 2021)

Memories and Tributes by Family & Friends

Congressional Record: Honoring Professor Hardy Thomas Frye


As remembered by Marion Kwan
June 19, 2021

When I think of Hardy:

May peace — inner peace — abide. One of my heroes. So deserving of peacefulness.

I miss his company in our Vets meetings and whenever I revisit the CRMA archives I will cherish all he had to say.

With heartfelt memories,

In Condolence


As remembered by Bruce Hartford
June 27, 2021

Though we both worked in California, Alabama, and Mississippi, I never met Hardy during the Freedom Movement. I encountered him much later in life as part of our Bay Area Veterans of the Freedom Movement group when he was teaching and writing about the Movement at U.C. Berkeley. But Hardy wasn't the kind of professor of social movements who came to it from studying theory and then fitting what he read or heard third-hand into a pre-existing framework. He came from the other direction — deriving analysis and theory from lived experience.

Hardy never lost touch with his roots. He grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Tuskegee, Alabama. Not the middle-class academic bourgeois side, but the blue-collar working class wrong side. From there his journey took him into the Army as an enlisted GI. Then into the Movement, and from the Movement into college — the opposite of so many who traveled from university to the Movement.

Eventually, his journey took him to a Cal professorship. But even then he lived in the Berkeley flatlands rather than the Berkeley hills where most of his academic colleagues resided along with the doctors, lawyers, administrators, and executives. He lived in the "flats" that for generations were home to the multi-racial work force who labored in the waterfront warehouses and factories. (Yes, industrial factories in Berkeley — who knew?) And in the everlasting political wars of race, class, and ideology that still define the free semi-state of Berkeley, he stood with the flats against the hills.

What I admired most about Hardy was his personal and political integrity. In contrast to the distortions and myths about the Freedom Movement so often promoted by mass-media and the public education system, he was deeply rooted in its historical and political realities — strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures. He didn't adjust or shift his views to accommodate the changing academic winds of interpretation and assessment that blow so erratically to and fro across college campuses. When he led his Civil Rights seminars for grad students and activists at Cal he told it the way he saw it, the way it actually was — and I think they appreciated that even if they didn't always agree.


As remembered by Fatima Cortez
June 28, 2021

I didn't know Hardy, but I just feel his presence. When I saw him [via Zoom] at our last meeting, his presence, in what seemed like he was struggling with in between living and dying and being able to express and not being able to express, was just so powerful that it drew me in as if he was an older relative that I'm like, I got to protect and we need to just respect and let him go. I wish I had had the opportunity, but there are so many people in Louisiana that I had lost and when you speak of him. I think of them in that context. They were just magnificent beings, that I had the immense opportunity to meet and work with and be educated by.


As remembered by Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics
June 29, 2021

Professor Frye will be missed. I learned so much from him at Berkeley he taught me what activism truly is — RIP.

This elder was like a grandfather to me. He was a SNCC field secretary. He was a respected scholar. He was a brilliant professor. He was a loving husband and father. He recognized me as an "organic intellectual" and a "scholar from the streets."

Dr.Hardy Frye will be missed.

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