Black History Month: Moses Leonard Frazier, NYLS’s First African American Graduate

Moses Leonard Frazier, Class of 1899, is believed to have been New York Law School’s first African American graduate.  An “Item of Interest” published in the July 23, 1902 issue of The Religious Telescope notes that he had been born into slavery in New Orleans in 1860.  A December 1902 issue of Successful American (published by The Writers’ Press Association) refers to Frazier as “a shining light” and “the only negro who was ever graduated from the School of Political Science in Columbia University.”  Frazier received an M.A. from that school in 1902.  He had received his Ph.B. degree from Mt. Union College in 1896, and a Ph.M. in 1899, the same year he graduated from New York Law School.  In 1903 he received an LL.D. degree from the law school of Morris Brown College in Atlanta, where he served as dean.

Although the extent to which he practiced law is uncertain, Frazier was active in a number of business ventures, including a real estate firm, a barber shop, and serving as president of the Academy of Chiropody & Dermatology.