Mitchell collection

January 31, 1991|By George Chainey

"I've lived through one of the most exciting and perilous periods of this country's history. I guess one of the high points was the end of the Vietnam war," says former Representative Parren J. Mitchell. "That was one of my campaign pledges, to work for the end of the war."

Parren Mitchell had many victories in his 16 years as the Democratic congressman from Maryland's Seventh District, and will be remembered for his efforts on behalf of small businesses and his quest to obtain economic equality for minorities.

Evidence of his achievements are now housed in the libraries of Morgan State University at Cold Spring Lane and Hillen Road, and Coppin State College, 2500 W. North Ave.

The former congressman spends a day a week at each location. On Mondays he is at Coppin, and on Wednesdays at Morgan. The archives are open to the public from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily.

"Preserving our history is important," Mr. Mitchell says. "As slaves in America we were not allowed to read and write, and so much of our history is not chronicled. We need a history of the race. Archival material is important to build on for our children."

Selecting from among the over 2,500 items collected by Mr. Mitchell for the archives was a major task. There are photographs, plaques, picture and declarations.

On one wall is a picture of Mr. Mitchell in front of the Capitol in Washington with many well-known people behind him, including Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The Humphrey-Hawkins full employment bill was being debated, and it was stalled on the Senate floor.

"In the middle of my speech," Mr. Mitchell said, "I simply said that we were not going to let the Senate stall. I asked if anybody would march to the Senate with me. Coretta King said she would, and we all marched to the Senate floor, 3,000 people."

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