Former state Senator Clarence M. Mitchell III was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on December 14, 1939. A member of the illustrious Mitchell family of Baltimore, Mitchell grew up in Baltimore, attending the city’s public schools. After graduating from Gonzaga High School, Mitchell attended the University of Maryland and Morgan State University, earning his J.D. degree from the University of Baltimore Law School.
Coming from a family well known for their commitment to advocacy, Mitchell was a cofounder of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960; he also worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1963, Mitchell was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served until 1967; that year, he became the youngest person to serve in the Maryland State Senate. Mitchell remained in the Maryland Senate for nearly two decades, finally stepping down in 1986. While in the State Senate, Mitchell served as the deputy majority leader; the majority whip; the chairman of the executive nominations committee; the co-chair of the joint committee on federal relations; and was a member of the judicial proceedings committee. Mitchell also served as the president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators from 1979 to 1981.
During his time in office, Mitchell was involved in a number of legislative achievements, including the creation of the Maryland Office of Minority Business Enterprise, and Maryland’s first Fair Employment Bill, which he sponsored. Mitchell served as a special advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Vice President Hubert Humphrey; he also served as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1964, 1968, 1976, 1980 and 1984.
Mitchell went on to become the president and CEO of Vanguard, Inc., an international government affairs, public relations, and business development consulting company; he also co-founded and served as chairman of the Center for the Study of Harassment of African Americans.
Hon. Clarence Mitchell passed away on October 10, 2012.