Florida civil rights activist, Ben Frazier, dies at 73

The award-winning humanitarian passed away after a months-long battle with cancer.

Benjamin Frazier, a Jacksonville, Florida community activist and Northside Coalition leader, has passed away at age 73.

According to Frazier’s family, he was surrounded by loved ones when he died June 24 after a nine-month battle with cancer, Florida Times-Union reports.

Florida civil rights activist, Ben Frazier, dies at 73
Screenshot of Florida civil rights activist, Ben Frazier, dead at 73 / Credit: First Coast News/YouTube

Frazier made history as the first Black TV anchor at Jacksonville’s WJXT-TV. He was a staunch advocate for civil rights and police reform. In 2016, Frazier formed the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, which aims to “empower, educate and organize our communities in an effort to establish greater self-sufficiency.”

Last year, he traveled to Geneva to address the United Nations Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination. During his visit, he slammed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “anti-riot” law.

Frazier also made headlines with his political antics that resulted in his arrest.

His refusal to stop speaking at a city council meeting led to his arrest in December 2022. Frazier was also taken into custody while attempting to attend Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ news conference in a state building, Florida Times-Union reports. In both cases, the charges were later dropped.

According to the family’s statement, Frazier was honored with the NAACP’s Rutledge H. Pearson Civil Rights Award for his humanitarian work in Black communities. 

Last October, Frazier publicly announced his diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

In the family’s statement announcing the death, Frazier is described as “a tireless voice for the voiceless even as he underwent cancer treatment.”

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

On social media, Mayor-elect Donna Deegan was among those mourning Frazier’s death. 

“A man of integrity and conviction, Ben brought overwhelming passion to everything he did. We’ve lost a true legend,” Deegan tweeted.

The Jacksonville Community Action Committee described Frazier as “a dominant force in the Jacksonville Black liberation movement.” 

The family will release information about the memorial when details are available.

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