CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Former Horry County Councilman James Frazier was honored Tuesday by those who knew him best and those who worked with him to bring change to the area.
The longest-serving Horry County councilman, first African-American chair of that council and local pioneer's life was celebrated at Friendship Baptists Church in Conway following his death on July 27.
Although a sunny day, clouds moved quickly over the church, whose white doors only allowed the faint sound of rejoicing voices to come through the cracks.
Because inside, hundreds of people gathered to honor a man described by those who knew him as someone who worked to leave his community better than how he found it.
"A humble man (who) walked through and works in neighborhoods, works with county government, builds bridges, developed relationships and fights for change without alienating, aggravating his counterparts, but working through those difficulties and building a better Horry County," said Bennie Swans, chairman of the Horry County Democratic Party. "Even in the midst of segregation, separation, racism, he fought through all of those things to be a bright and shining star for race relations."
Frazier succeeded in leaving his community a better place in the opinions of his family, friends and peers.
"He didn't have a title to ring his own bell or to get a seat on the front row," said Conway Mayor Barbara Bellamy when speaking about Frazier's humble demeanor.
Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught described Frazier as a mentor.
Friends spoke of some of his most cherished accomplishments, like his family, building the James Frazier Community Center in the Bucksport community, building roads and sidewalks and his love of children.
Swans called Frazier someone who helped at the local state and national level. He was one of a few small farmers selected nationally to go to the White House in 1978. Jimmy Carter was president then, and had lunch with Frazier and a few others to discuss small farming and the agricultural community.
A patriot for bursting through doors not otherwise opened, opening them himself and for others, Frazier was remembered as someone who kept the clouds quickly moving so all could see a brighter day for change.
"What a man, when all is said and done, you leave a legacy of your accomplishments. What did you do for others?" Swans asked.