Julia Caldwell Frazier, African-American educator, was born on October 10, 1863, in Sommerville, Alabama. She was the daughter of Joseph and Matilda Caldwell, both of whom were born in South Carolina. Sometime before 1870 the Caldwell family settled in Columbus, Muscogee County, Georgia, where Julia grew up. She was listed in the 1880 census as still living at home in Columbus with her parents and three sisters. Caldwell attended college, a rarity for a black woman at that time, and graduated from Howard University, in Washington, D.C., in 1887; she was the only woman in a class of six. She also later studied at Clark and Columbia universities.
In 1892 Caldwell moved to Dallas, where she began teaching Latin, English, and German at the Dallas Colored High School. She married W. W. Frazier, also a public school teacher, in 1908.
In 1919 Julia Frazier was appointed interim principal to finish out the term of Benjamin F. Darrell, who died in mid-semester. Superintendent Justin F. Kimball, in making the appointment, heralded her as “scholarly…an excellent instructor, splendid in discipline, a woman of sterling character who stands for the best in her race in every phase of life.” Frazier, however, did not receive a permanent appointment for the position. She resumed teaching and in 1922 moved to the new Booker T. Washington High School, where she headed the Latin Language Department. She retired in 1924.
Throughout her life, Frazier remained active in various civic affairs. She helped to establish the Ladies Reading Circle, a black women’s culture club, in 1892. She also helped to head the Ladies Department of the Colored Fair and Tri-Centennial Exposition in 1901. Frazier was a prominent member of the Negro Women’s Division of the state commission and helped to provide teacher training, a mother’s club, handicraft instruction, and a room registry and employment bureau for young women. After her retirement from education, Frazier worked as executive secretary of the Odd Fellows fraternity. She also was an active member of the Eastern Star, a women’s auxiliary of the Masonic Order.
Julia Caldwell Frazier died in 1929. In 1930 a new Dallas school, Julia C. Frazier Elementary School, built at 4600 Spring Avenue, was named in her honor. In 1931 Frazier Hall, the first residence hall for women at Howard University, was constructed and named for her. Likewise, a Dallas public housing project, Frazier Courts, was named for her in 1942.