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In Memoriam: Andrea Harris Opened Doors For Minority-Owned Businesses In North Carolina

Headshot of Andrea Harris.
Courtesy of The North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development

Andrea Harris was a force to be reckoned with. An advocate for the economic advancement of minority communities in the state, she tore down barriers that prevented those communities from owning homes or running businesses. 

In 1986, she co-founded the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development, known familiarly as
The Institute, and served as its president for many years. The Institute has given over $1 billion to minority businesses in financial and contract awards.  Harris grew up in Henderson and attended Bennett College in Greensboro. She started her career in advocacy and economic justice at the age of 23, when she became the director of a community action agency in her hometown and fought poverty in three rural counties. Harris died Wednesday at the age of 72.

Host Frank Stasio remembers her life and legacy with Lew Myers and Anita Brown-Graham. Myers met Harris when they were both in their 20s and co-founded The Institute. Brown-Graham was one of Harris’ mentees. She is a professor of public law and government at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government and the director of the ncIMPACT Initiative.

Kaia Findlay is the lead producer of Embodied, WUNC's weekly podcast and radio show about sex, relationships and health. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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