Monday, June 26, 2023

Benjamin McVickers Frazier, Jr., R.I.P.

Benjamin McVickers Frazier, Jr. was an experienced, talented journalist and advocate for justice and equity in Jacksonville. 


From News4Jax: 

‘He will be missed’: Local Civil Rights activist Ben Frazier dies at 73

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Civil Rights activist and president of the Northside Coalition, Ben Frazier, passed away on Saturday night after a nine-month battle with cancer one day after celebrating his birthday.

That’s according to a statement sent out by his daughter, Kelly Frazier.

It comes just one day after he turned 73. The family is asking for privacy at this time and will announce funeral arrangements at a later date.

His daughter sent the following statement:

“It is with love and heartfelt sorrow that the family of Benjamin McVickers Frazier, Jr. shares the news of his passing just one day after his 73rd. He was surrounded by family and close friends as he courageously ended his nine-month battle with cancer at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, 2023, at Shands Hospital in Jacksonville”

RELATED: ‘Feeling disbelief, shock, fear’: Activist Frazier Frazier battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

razier was a long-time broadcast journalist who became the first Black anchor of a major news show in Jacksonville. He also hosted the noon newscast at WJXT.

He was also an award-winning civil and human rights leader, a tireless voice for the voiceless even as he underwent cancer treatment. 

Frazier announced his cancer diagnosis back in October in a statement released on Facebook, saying he was “feeling disbelief, shock, fear and anger” about learning he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Frazier received the NAACP’s Rutledge H. Pearson Civil Rights Award for his advocacy and outstanding contributions to civil rights over many decades. And he was just awarded the Trailblazer Award at the 2022 Jacksonville Image Awards.

Frazier was extremely proud that he addressed the United Nations with a message critical of the Florida legislation. He talked about it frequently.

He fought for equality among Jacksonville’s citizens, equity in our neighborhoods, and integrity, transparency, accountability, and compassion in our government.

He will be missed solely by family, friends, and the Jacksonville community,” Kelly said.

The family asks for privacy during this difficult time and will announce memorial information when details become available.

Numerous statements sharing condolences have been pouring in to remember the community activist.

I want to extend my condolences to Mr. Ben Frazier’s family. Just like many of you, I was shocked and saddened by the passing of a great giant. Ben Frazier was and still is a pillar in our community. He fought for the equal treatment of people and stood unapologetically for his beliefs no matter what side of the line it fell on. Being a witness to his passion during our City Council meetings, he made me “see” him, pay attention to him and respect the impact he had on our laws and the lives of others in and throughout Jacksonville and both nationally and internationally. For that, he will never be forgotten. He is forever etched in history.

Jacksonville City Council member Reggie Gaffney Jr.

Ben Frazier was truly a force of nature. His legendary voice won’t just be remembered because of its tenor, but more for its global impact. I was a child when I met Mr. Frazier, as a friend of my mother. They worked together in broadcasting. He was one of the reasons that I wanted to become a news anchor and reporter. While his career was unprecedented and a pattern for success, he would remind me that his life was also a series of lessons in what not to do. I am honored that as an adult he became my friend. We often shared special moments, conversations, and text messages.

As a newly elected member of the Jacksonville City Council, I am a direct result of the legacy of Ben Frazier’s work. Looking back on his emails, he would always make salutation saying, “My Leader.” Today, as a local member of our Black Journalists Association, I hope to lead by celebrating a life well-lived. I am thankful for his grace and friendship. Though he has transitioned, the work that he started assures his legacy. My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, our NABJ family, and the Northside Coalition. May he rest powerfully and may his memory always be a blessing.

City Council Member Rahman Johnson

Frazier’s friend and lawyer John Phillips also penned a note, remembering him as someone who “taught while he fought.”

Jacksonville Mayor-elect Donna Deegan said the city will not be the same without Frazier’s presence.

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