Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Parren J. Mitchell (1922-2007)

MSA SC 3520-2099

Parren James Mitchell was born in Baltimore, Maryland on April 29, 1922 to Clarence Maurice and Elsie Davis Mitchell.  Mr. Mitchell attended Baltimore public schools graduating from Frederick Douglass High School in 1940, received his A.B. from Morgan State College in 1950, received his M.A. from the University of Maryland College Park in 1952, and undertook graduate work in sociology at the University of Connecticut.  He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Human Letters by Coppin State College in 1971 and by Morgan State University in 1973 and an Honorary Doctorate of Social Sciences from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore in 1971.  In addition, he has received the Washington Urban League's Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Award, the National Bankers Association's Distinguished Service Award, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Black Achievers Award, the African Heritage Association Award, and the National Association of Black Manufacturer's Highest Achievement Award.

Mr. Mitchell served as a commissioned officer and company commander in the United States Army, 92nd Infantry Division, from 1942 through 1945 receiving a Purple Heart.  He also served as professor of sociology and assistant director of the Urban Studies Institute of Morgan State College.  He was an executive director of the Maryland Human Relations Commission from 1963 to 1965; an executive director of the Baltimore Community Action Agency from 1965 to 1968; a supervisor of probation work for the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City from 1954 to 1957; the president of Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. from 1969 through 1970; a delegate to the Maryland State Democrat convention in 1972; a member of St. Katherine's Episcopal Church, of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, of the National Association of Community Developments, of the Baltimore Area Council on Alcoholism, of the Baltimore Urban League, of the American Sociological Society, of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, of the Metropolitan Baltimore Association for Mental Health, and of the Maryland Committee for the Day Care of Children; and a board member for the Martin Luther King Parent-Child Center, for Americans for Democratic Action, and for the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy.

Mitchell was elected as a Democrat to 92nd Congress and re-elected to seven succeeding Congresses from January 1971 through January 1987.  He served the 7th Congressional District.  Mitchell was the House at Large Whip; a member of the Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs; the chair of the Committee on Small business; a member of the Subcommittee on Minority Enterprise and General Oversight; the chair of the Task Force on Minority Enterprise; a member of the Subcommittee on Access to Capital and Business Opportunities; a member of the Joint Economic Committee; a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus; and the chair of the Subcommittee on Minority Economic Development and Housing.

Parren J. Mitchell passed away on May 28, 2007, at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

Sources:  Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-1989.  (Washington:  United States Printing Office, 1989), 1514; Eisenberg, Gerson G.  Marylanders Who Served the Nation.  (Annapolis:  Maryland State Archives, 1992), 154-55; Official Congressional Directory, 92rd Congress. (Washington:  United States Printing Office, 1971), 77; Official Congressional Directory, 93rd Congress. (Washington:  United States Printing Office, 1973), 82; 1981 Official Congressional Directory, 97rd Congress. (Washington:  United States Printing Office, 1981), 78; 1983-1984 Official Congressional Directory, 98th Congress.  (Washington:  United States Printing Office, 1983), 86; Maryland Manual 1985-1986.  (Annapolis:  Maryland State Archives, 1985), 474.

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