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The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III

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Information about The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III

Profile image of The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
U.S. Congressman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
4/29/1922
Birth Location:
Baltimore, Maryland

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
U.S. Congressman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Brown
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
4/29/1922
Birth Location:
Baltimore
See how The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Parren James Mitchell was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 29, 1922, to Clarence M. Mitchell and Elsie Davis Mitchell. Though their street address was an alley, Mitchell, his brother Clarence, Jr., and sisters Elsie and Anna Mae were all strivers. Mitchell attended Garnet Elementary School, Booker T. Washington Junior High School, and graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1940. Mitchell joined the United States Army and served as a commissioned officer of the 92nd Infantry Division during World War II, receiving the Purple Heart. He graduated from Morgan State University with honors in 1950, but segregation barred Mitchell from attending the University of Maryland Graduate School. With advice from his brother (who was an official of the NAACP) and his brother's mother in law (Lilly Mae Carroll Jackson, the state NAACP director) and with Thurgood Marshall as counsel, Mitchell successfully sued the University of Maryland for admittance to graduate school; he received his M.A. degree in sociology from the University of Maryland in 1952, and returned to teach at Morgan State.

Mitchell served as a supervisor of probation work for the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City from 1954 to 1957; executive director of the Maryland Human Relations Commission from 1963 to 1965; executive director of the Baltimore Community Action Agency from 1965 to 1968; and president of the Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. from 1969 through 1970. He was a pivotal player in the passage of Maryland’s Public Accommodations Law of 1963. A constituency Mitchell helped organize backed his nephew, Clarence Mitchell, III’s, successful run for the state legislature in 1963, and in 1970, backed by the same political organization, Mitchell was elected to the 92nd United States Congress, representing Maryland’s 7th District.

Reelected to seven consecutive Congresses through 1987, Mitchell served as a member of the Committee on Banking; Finance and Urban Affairs; the chair of the Subcommittee on Access to Capital and Business Opportunities; the Joint Economic Committee; was chair of the Subcommittee on Minority Economic Development and Housing; and was House at Large Whip. As one of the thirteen founders of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971, Mitchell was part of a 20th century resurgence of black political strength. In 1976, Mitchell attached to President Jimmy Carter’s $4 billion Public Works Bill an amendment that compelled state, county, and municipal governments seeking federal grants to set aside ten percent of the money for minority contractors and subcontractors; his amendment to the 1982 Surface Transportation Assistance Act also required ten percent set aside for minorities.

In 1980, Mitchell founded the Minority Business Enterprise Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. (MBELDEF) and served as its chairman of the board.

Mitchell passed away on Monday, May 28, 2007 at the age of 85.

See how The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Hon. Parren J. Mitchell, III's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III talks briefly about his family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III describes experiencing segregation in Baltimore, Maryland and picketing the Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III describes political activity at Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland, including the 1945 student boycott
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III talks about his first job with the Maryland Human Relations Commission
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III talks about racial segregation in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III remembers influential teachers at Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III talks about Lillie Carroll Jackson and civil rights groups at Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland in 1945
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III talks about winning a discrimination lawsuit against the University of Maryland in 1950
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III talks about his graduate school experience at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III remembers influential teachers at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III describes challenging segregation in Baltimore with the Maryland Human Relations Commission
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III talks about fellow community organizers in Maryland including HistoryMaker Reverend Vernon Dobson
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III talks about working in the Maryland Human Relations Commission
  • Tape: 1 Story: 16 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III describes Maryland's limited interest in integration
  • Tape: 1 Story: 17 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III talks about his brother, Clarence Mitchell, Jr.'s civil rights activity
  • Tape: 1 Story: 18 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III talks about his reputation as a community organizer
  • Tape: 1 Story: 19 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III talks about his nephew HistoryMaker Clarence Mitchell, III's election into the state legislature
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III talks about challenging segregation in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III describes how he earned a Purple Heart in World War II
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III describes entering the congressional race in 1969 and winning the seat in 1970
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III describes community issues in 1970s Baltimore, Maryland
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III talks about Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III talks about the formation of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III describes issues addressed by the first Congressional Black Caucus
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III describes the success of his public works bill
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Parren J. Mitchell, III describes his hopes and concerns for the black community