The University of Maryland, College Park has announced that it is renaming its Art-Sociology Building to honor Parren J. Mitchell, the first African American elected to Congress from the State of Maryland.
Parren J. Mitchell was a graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore and had earned a Purple Heart while serving in the U.S. Army in World War II. When he applied to the graduate program in sociology at the University of Maryland, he was initially denied admission due to his race. Mitchell filed a lawsuit in 1950 and a judge in Baltimore ordered his admission.
After earning his master’s degree in sociology at the University of Maryland, Mitchell taught at Morgan State University and later was elected to Congress in 1970. He served eight terms in the House of Representatives and was elected chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Parren Mitchell died in 2007 at the age of 85.