North Carolina Central University School of Law Professor Hugo Payne, Dean Daniel G. Sampson, and Future State Supreme Court Chief Justice Henry E. Frye, Sr.
Daniel G. Sampson (center) was dean of the North Carolina Central University School of Law from 1965 to 1969, as efforts mounted to close it. In 1968 members of the state’s board of higher education contended that since African Americans could attend the law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the one at Central was unnecessary. Sampson successfully defended his school before the UNC General Administration:
More and more law schools are limiting their enrollment to the top five or ten percent of college graduating classes. The student graduating in the lower-upper or middle part of his class from any college is finding his chance of obtaining a legal education diminishing. Because of this, North Carolina College School of Law is in a unique position of performing an invaluable service to worthy and deserving students.
Former state supreme court Justice Henry E. Frye, Sr. (at right) graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law in 1959 and went on to make North Carolina history. He began his political career in 1963 as the first African-American assistant United States district attorney. In 1968 he became the first African American elected to the North Carolina legislature in the 20th century. Following his six terms in the House, he served in the North Carolina Senate for one term. Governor James B. Hunt appointed him to the North Carolina Supreme Court in 1983, making him the state’s first African-American associate justice. In 1999 he became the Court’s first African-American chief justice.
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