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Memorials: Berkeley Monthly Meeting

Herb Fajors

Date of birth

June 25, 1925

Date of death

Nov. 20, 2020


Berkeley Monthly Meeting

Memorial minute

Herb Fajors was born June 25, 1925 in Manchester, New Hampshire. He grew up the youngest of ten children. His parents and grandparents attended Quaker meetings at the local Grange Hall or in member’s homes. They were the only Black family in the small town, and his parents taught them to be proud of their Black heritage and that education was primary. Herb had a happy childhood, always curious and questioning, including questioning his Quaker beliefs; however Herb stayed a Quaker all his life due to his belief that we can speak to the God within us.

He joined the army as a Conscientious Objector Quaker as a medic during the Korean War. He began studies at Plymouth Teachers College for one year; then attended Boston University, where he attended Longfellow Meeting in Cambridge. His heavy involvement in the Civil Rights Movement grew and he met with others in the movement every evening.  He was president of the Arlington Civil Rights movement. He attended Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat and conference center, where he found much peace.

He again joined the army as a Conscientious Objector and was in the Military Language Institute in California, where there was one language class he could join, Serbo-Croatian.  After the army he went to Dartmouth and Harvard Business Schools.

Herb is remembered for his colorful traditional African attire, which he always wore proudly as a statement of his Afro American heritage. He felt it commanded respect with many people.

Herb started UNIFIED, a small business doing engineering and electronics in Salem and Manchester, New Hampshire. He felt it important for Blacks to own small businesses and advocated for government help to start them; however, most government small business support was given to white owned businesses. In 1984 he moved his business to Hayward, California.

In the 1980’s he began attending Berkeley Friends Meeting and became a member by convincement on May 12, 1996.

He met Sheila Hill while she was attending San Francisco State and he was a visiting professor.  She shared his values of activism and advocating for Blacks. One of the groups that Herb started, in which Sheila was an active participant, was Quakers of African Descent.

After eight years of long distance dating, they got together in California, and later married on September 4, 1988 at Berkeley Friends Meeting House. Sheila was not a Quaker when they met, but started attending Berkeley Friends with Herb and became a member in July, 2002. Their home in San Leandro, California was filled with African American art. Herb and Sheila are remembered for their annual holiday party celebrating Kwanzaa.

Herb had two sons, Herb and Nique. Both sons graduated from Harvard Business School and created successful businesses.

Herb had a very active mind, writing and teaching his ideas wherever he could.  He called his theory on life “The Seven Criteria of Civilization”.  In his later years he was disappointed that more people didn’t follow his concepts.

In 2000 he founded the Peoples Federal Credit Union in West Oakland, California, with the help of Berkeley Friends Meeting members. The credit union is still successful, helping the poor to avoid using expensive check cashing stores.

Sheila Hill-Fajors died on September 14, 2003.

Herb wrote a small book of published poems, written over a 70 year period, called “Flowers Growing by the Side of the Road” by Humble Herb.

In 2007 He moved back to New Hampshire which he always thought of as “home”.  He lived in Charleston, New Hampshire during his final years and continued to attend Meeting, though the Meeting there was programmed. During his years in New Hampshire, he sent illustrated texts of his ideas to Berkeley Friends Meeting.

Herb Fajors  passed away November 20, 2020.  His two sons, Herb Fajors and Nique Fajors and seven grandchildren survive him.