Hardy Frye was born February 18, 1939 and grew up in Tuskegee, Alabama. Very early, he developed a great respect for the Civil Rights movement. He joined the NAACP at the age of 9 or 10 at the encouragement of his math teacher.
"After I got out of the Army, the first thing I remember that was significant was the "Tuskegee boycott" of local white merchants in Tuskegee...I came to California in '59, and I found myself on a picket line, picketing the 1960 Democratic Convention held in Los Angeles at which John Kennedy was nominated. We were picketing for the Civil Rights Plank in the platform. It was so exciting, that I joined CORE. The next month or so I was up at the state capitol in Sacramento, California sitting in for a fair housing bill which was waiting to be signed on Govenor Pat Brown's desk. And we sat in for about a month on that damn marble floor up there in the rotunda. We slept on that marble floor. Eventually the govenor signed the legistation, but it was repealed within a year or so."
Hardy worked in the deep South in the 1960s as an organizer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was one of over a thousand students who were part of the 1964 Summer Voter Registration Project in Mississippi. He often worked in concert with Dr. Martin Luther King and his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
Hardy attended several community colleges in the mid 1960s and entered CSU, Sacramento, Spring 1966. He graduated Fall 1967 with a major in Sociology and a minor in Government. He then went onto the Univ. of California Berkeley where he earned Masters and PhD degrees. His first job was at Yale University. In 1978 he joined the Sociology Department at the University of California Santa Cruz. He retired from Santa Cruz as Professor Emeritus in 1999. Along the way, he served in the Univ. of California, Office of the President Executive Director of the Urban Community School Collaborative Project. He also served as Country Director of the United States Peace Corps in Guyana, South America.
An active scholar, Dr. Frye's research and publications have dealt with issues of politics and power in the African American and urban communities. His work has been published in monographs, articles in professional journals, book chapters and book reviews. His book, Black parties and Political Power (1980), is based on his experience in the National Democratic Party in Alabama. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Freedom on My Mind" which won an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 67th Annual Academy Awards in 1995.
Most recently, Hardy has been called out of retirement to be visiting professor in the African-American Studies Department of U.C. Berkeley. Among his other duties he is designing a practicum that will instruct students on community organizing and community building. He recently received UC Berkeley's Fannie Lou Hamer Award.