Dr. Frank Porter Graham (1886-1972) was a professor of history who served as president of the University of North Carolina from 1930 until 1949. During the 1930s, he became active in the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced German Scholars. The committee arranged American college faculty positions for German refugee scholars, most of whom had been expelled from their jobs in Germany because they were Jews. Several of them were given positions on the faculty of the University of North Carolina.
Graham, an outspoken opponent of racism and antisemitism, ordered the UNC Medical School, in 1934, to abolish its quota on Jewish students.
Dr. Graham was the lead witness to testify before Congress on the 1939 Wagner-Rogers bill, to admit 20,000 German refugee children to the United States. He also publicly criticized the British government for restricting the admission of Jewish refugees to Palestine. When President Roosevelt in 1944 established the War Refugee Board, Graham was offered the position of executive director of the board. He turned it down because of his commitments as president of the University of North Carolina. Dr. Graham was also a supporter of the Bergson Group. His name appeared on some of its newspaper ads, and he served as co-chair of Bergson’s 1944 Emergency Conference to Save the Jewish People of Europe.