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The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr.

Judge Barrington D. Parker, Jr. was born on August 21, 1944 in Washington, D.C. to Federal Judge Barrington D. Parker, Sr. and Marjorie Holloman Parker, board chair of the University of the District of Columbia. Parker graduated from McKinley Technical High School, and earned his B.A. degree in history from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut in 1965. He then received his LL.B. degree from Yale Law School in 1969.

Parker began his legal career as a clerk for Judge Aubrey E. Robinson, Jr., an African American judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He joined the firm of Sullivan & Cromwell in New York City as an associate in 1970, where he specialized in general commercial litigation. In 1977, Parker and three other partners founded the law firm of Parker, Auspitz, Neesemann, & Delehanty, P.C. which, in 1987, merged with Morrison & Foerster, an international law firm based out of San Francisco, California. In 1994, Parker was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by President Bill Clinton. His cases in the district court included Trinity United Methodist Parish v. Board of Education of Newburgh, where he upheld a church’s right to rent space within a public school, and the trial of businessman Albert J. Pirro, Jr., who was indicted for conspiracy and tax evasion. In 2001, President George W. Bush nominated Parker to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Senate confirmed him 100-0. On the circuit court, he was involved in several prominent cases involving the rights of terrorism suspects, including Rumsfeld v. Padilla, where Parker ruled that Al Qaeda suspect Jose Padilla must be offered habeas corpus as an American citizen, and Arar v. Ashcroft, where Parker wrote a dissenting opinion stating that Maher Arar’s rights had been violated by the Bush administration’s policy of extraordinary rendition. Parker assumed senior status in 2009.

Parker served on the board of trustees for the Yale Corporation, and on the board of The Harlem School of the Arts, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Central Park Conservancy.

Parker has three children: Christine, Kathleen, and Jennifer.

Judge Barrington D. Parker, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 5, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.067

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/5/2016

Last Name

Parker

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Daniels

Schools

Yale University

Yale Law School

McKinley Technology High School

Monroe School

Benjamin Banneker Academic High School

First Name

Barrington

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

PAR09

Favorite Season

Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Quote

I Did The Best I Could With What I Had.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/21/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Hamburger

Short Description

Judge Barrington D. Parker, Jr. (1944 - ) served on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Employment

Phillips Exeter Academy

NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Office of the Corporation Counsel for Washington D.C.

United States District Court for the District of Columbia

Sullivan and Cromwell LLP

Parker, Auspitz, Neesemann and Delehanty, P.C.

Morrison and Foerster LLP

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

United State Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. describe his paternal grandfather's role at the Robert H. Terrell Law School

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. describes his mother's education and career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers his community in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. recalls his family dinners and holidays

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers visiting the Smithsonian Institution

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. describes his schooling in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. recalls the desegregation of public accommodations in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers the integration of McKinley Technical High School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. talks about his teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers his favorite academic subjects

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. recalls his mother's community involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. recalls his decision to attend Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. describes his transition to Yale University

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers his friends and mentors at Yale University

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers studying history at Yale University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers his paternal grandfather's legal representation of W.E.B. Du Bois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers William Sloane Coffin's civil rights activism

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers the civil rights activity at Yale University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers the Freedom Rides, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers the Freedom Rides, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. recalls his decision to pursue a career in law

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. recalls his internship with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. recalls his encounters with the Ku Klux Klan during the Freedom Rides

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. recalls working as a freshman proctor at Yale University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. recalls his concerns about the draft during the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. recalls his clerkship with Judge Aubrey Eugene Robinson, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers joining Sullivan and Cromwell LLP

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers founding Parker, Auspitz, Neesemann and Delehanty, P.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. talks about his family, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. talks about his family, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. talks about his board service

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. talks about his work with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. talks about the Central Park Conservancy

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. recalls his decision to pursue a judicial appointment

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers joining the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. recalls the cases in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. describes the duties of a district judge

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. describes his wife's work

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

6$4

DATitle
The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. recalls his decision to pursue a career in law
The Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr. remembers the Freedom Rides, pt. 1
Transcript
When did you figure out that you wanted to be a lawyer?$$I--after I graduated, I took a job in the history department at Phillips Exeter [Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire] and I was trying to figure out whether to go to graduate school in the history or law school. And I liked the place. It was a great school. And I mean I--I'm not--I'm not sorry I didn't go there 'cause I just--I mean (laughter) there were these sort of ruling class white kids there and they were--(laughter) most of them were miserable. I mean, it was just like an intellectual boot camp. I mean, they just worked hard. They had fabulous teachers. It was academically very demanding. And I, I, I sort of wish--I mean, in, in the--you know, quickly kind of didn't matter, but I said, you know, if I had a couple of these teachers, if I had just a syllabus, if they taught this, just used the same books and asked the same questions at McKinley Tech [McKinley Technical High School; McKinley Technology High School, Washington, D.C.] that they were asking at Exeter, it made a big difference. And the people in the history department could not have been nicer to me. They wanted me to go back to graduate school and they--you know, they said, you know, you--, "If you--ever you want to come back and teach here--." I thought that the most interesting--the most exciting years in teaching tended to be the earlier ones and I thought that as--a career as a lawyer would get progressively even more interesting, and that assessment in retrospect was the correct one. So, instead of going to graduate school, I went to law school--went back to Yale [Yale Law School, New Haven, Connecticut].$Did you find yourself involved in civil rights activity at all?$$Yeah. So, they had this group there called the--I think it was called the Yale civil rights research council [Law Students Civil Rights Research Council] or something like that--I forget the name of it, and so, that was a group of people on campus who were interested in civil rights activity, so I was involved in that. But, summer of 1964, I'm back in Washington [D.C.] and I got this gosh, horrible job that my father [Barrington D. Parker, Sr.] got me working in the post office [U.S. Post Office Department; U.S. Postal Service] stuffing second class mail for Virginia. It was just horrible (laughter). So, that was the, the summer--that was the summer of the Mississippi Summer Project [Freedom Summer], so you would go back home and sit down and watch television and, you know, the, the point of that project was to get white volunteers down south to focus the media on conditions in places like Southwest Georgia and Mississippi. So, I mean, I'm sitting here looking at this and, you know, why am I here? And so I, I forget what, what happened. Our parents were away someplace and somebody told me that they were--they were organizing a second tranche of volunteers to go and they were doing training at All Souls Church [All Souls Church, Unitarian] on--in Washington, so I went down there, and then the next thing I knew, I was in this carpool. We went to the SNCC [Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] office in Atlanta [Georgia] and then they kind of gave you your assignment and told you where you were going, so I ended up in, in Hattiesburg [Mississippi], and that was a--that was another sort of game changer.$$What happened there?$$Met all these absolutely extraordinary people. So, I was in South Africa before Mandela [Nelson Mandela] got out of jail, so I'm sitting around this dinner party with all these guys who are getting out of Robben Island [South Africa] and it's always been a close call in my mind about whether the most impressive group of adults I've ever met were those guys or the young SNCC guys I met in Mississippi, [HistoryMakers] James Forman, [HistoryMaker] John Lewis, Robert Moses [Robert Parris Moses], Stokely Carmichael [Kwame Ture]. They were all these guys who were just visionary and courageous and, you know, they made all--they made all the difference. And, and, you know, guys whose names you never heard of anymore--$$Now (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) who, you know, worked in these dangerous towns.$$Well, and so when you decided to go, did you get any resistance from your family?$$They were--no, not at all.$$No?$$Right.$$And as you're traveling--$$My mother [Marjorie Holloman Parker] told her--all her AKA [Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority] friends (laughter).$$So, she was proud of you.$$Um-hm.$$As you made your way--that's fine--as you made your way down, did you encounter any dangerous moments?$$No. I think--I, I can't--I think we went to--no. I mean, Hattiesburg was relatively calm. I mean, there were things you didn't do. You know, you didn't--you know, you, you, you certainly didn't go around town with white women and so forth. But what we were doing in Hattiesburg was we were teaching at the Freedom Schools and then encouraging people to register to vote and then encouraging them to--you know, and telling them that the--you know, that there's a statewide school of desegregation suit that had been won and they could send their kids to, you know, the nice school down the road and so forth and so on.$$But, I mean, those were game changing things down there that--$$Yeah, you're--the heavy lifting was done--I don't mean heavy lift- but, there were places that were just dangerous to be in and they were up in the Delta [Mississippi Delta] and in the Piney Woods area. Hattiesburg was not a Klan [Ku Klux Klan, KKK] town. I don't--I can't explain why, but it was just--I mean, you could kind of walk around downtown in Hattiesburg and nobody would--I mean--and so forth.$$Um-hm.$$But--