Parren J. Mitchell (Photo credit: umd.edu)
The University of Maryland, College Park is naming its Art-Sociology Building after Parren J. Mitchell, the first Black person from Maryland to be elected to Congress.
The University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents approved renaming the building at the end of Sept.
Mitchell is an alumnus of the University of Maryland, College Park.
In 1950 he filed and won a lawsuit for admittance into the university’s graduate sociology program despite efforts made by the university’s then president, Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd, to persuade him to take classes in Baltimore City.
This decision made Mitchell the first Black person to study in a graduate program at the University of Maryland.
Mitchell was a civil rights activist as well as a Purple Heart recipient. He died in 2007. The Mitchell Building, which houses the Office of the Registrar at the College Park campus, is named after his brother, Clarence Mitchell Jr., another noted civil rights activist. Mitchell Jr. died in 1984.
The University of Maryland, College Park is making other changes by adding a statue of Frederick Douglas to the school’s campus. They are also debating whether to rename Byrd Stadium.
Byrd was a student, athlete, professor and president at the school, but it is his support of segregation that has prompted students to encourage the name change. He was the university’s president from 1935 to 1954.
The university’s current president, Wallace D. Loh, has assembled a committee of 20 people to work toward deciding whether the stadium’s name should be changed.
The report on whether to rename Byrd Stadium is due in December.