Editor’s note – this story has been updated to state James R. Frazier was not the first African American elected to council. He and Ulysses Dewitt were elected in 1979.

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — James R. Frazier, who dedicated his life to service, was a change agent for the Bucksport community.

He was the longest serving African American member on Horry County Council.

Although he broke barriers in Horry County, his family says his biggest accomplishments were the changes he initiated in the small town of Bucksport. Frazier’s son and granddaughter are proud of his legacy.

“It’s fun to drive by everything in Bucksport,” granddaughter Mykah Frazier said. ” And I just think of my grandpa every time I come home.”

The James R. Frazier Community Center is a place where folks in Bucksport can congregate and work out. Frazier’s family said he was all about service.

“He just wanted to help,” his son, Michael Frazier, said. “The biggest word I can say about my dad is service. And he feels like everyone should give service.”

Frazier was first elected to Horry County Council in 1980 and served 35 years in his position, but his community service started long before entering council chambers.  He was active in real estate and worked at Horry Georgetown Technical College.

He also served 23 years for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture and was one of five farmers invited to the White House in 1978.

“That’s when he went to Washington and met with President Carter and five other farmers, and he represented a different group because he was a small farmer”

Frazier’s life mission was to improve his community.  He noticed water conditions were not ideal in the small, rural town, so he and others founded the Bucksport Water System.

“There were some people who didn’t have access to a well so they would have to go to somebody else’s house to get water,” Frazier’s son said.  “And actually, before I was born, that was a long time ago, before I was born right off Salem Church Road.  There was a plot there.  It was a steady run, and people would go there and fill these buckets or jugs of water to take them back to the house.”

He wanted to make sure the infrastructure in Bucksport properly supported its residents.  The roads and water and sewer system were some of the issues he was most passionate about while serving as a councilman.

“I believe his legacy is Horry County and how much love he had for Horry County,” Mykah Frazier said.  “He use to always brag about how Horry County was the biggest county, east of the Mississippi, like land mass.  He was super prideful of that and prideful of his community.”

Although Frazier faced racism, his family said he always focused on the work.

“You know when he was first elected, we had what’s called stuck meetings,” his son said.  “He was supposed to go to one in the Green Sea area, but he got a phone call and the clan told him not to show up because he would be the only African American.

Frazier died in 2016, but his legacy lives on and it doesn’t just resonate in the community center. It’s felt throughout Horry County.

“Wherever he went he was representing Horry County,” Frazier’s son said.  “Either he had a lapel pin that had Horry County on it, or he was telling somebody about it. And people would be like why you love it so much and he said that’s where I’m from, that’s my people.”

Read below for a full list of Frazier’s accomplishments:  

Political Affiliation:

Farm Movement 1978-78 – One of five spokesmen nationwide invited to the White House by President Jimmy Carter to discuss issues facing American Farmers Horry County Democratic Party Chairman (1986-88 and the first African American elected to serve in this position.

Horry County Democratic Party Vice-Chairman (6 years)

Executive Committee Port Harelson Precinct (10 years)

Professional Affiliation:

Horry County Councilman (35 years)

United Way (Board of Directors)

BB&T Bank (Advisory Board)

South Carolina Family of the Year Committee (Member)

Bucksport Water System (Founding Member for 13 years)

Clemson Extension Services (Statewide Advisory Committee)

Horry County Literacy Council (Board of Directors)

Conway Chamber of Commerce (Board of Directors)

National Guard Legislative Task Force (Member)

Assembly on the Future of South Carolina (Member)

Awards:

Jerry Cox Company Excellence Award, Citizen of the Year Award (Bethel A.M.E. Church), Citizen of the Year Award (Upsilon Beta-Beta Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.), NAACP H.H. Singleton II Leadership Award, Horry County Democratic Party Chairman Service Award.