This stately rowhome at 828 North Carrollton Avenue has served a number of purposes since its construction in 1880. Over the years it has been used as a private residence, office space, and briefly as a retirement home. Its most notable resident was Parren Mitchell, the first African American to represent Maryland in the U.S. Congress.
Parren Mitchell is remembered as an outspoken and passionate legislator, influenced by his childhood in a deeply segregated Baltimore. Born in 1922, Mitchell and his family lived in Old West Baltimore, the city's premier early African American neighborhood.
After graduating from Douglass High School in 1940, Mitchell enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was a commissioned officer during World War II and earned a Purple Heart for his service in Italy. Following the war, he pursued a college education, graduating with degrees from Morgan State University and the University of Maryland. He earned a Master of Sociology in 1952, the school's first African American graduate student.
Through the 1950's and 1960s, Mitchell taught at Morgan State University, led a city anti-poverty program, and served as director of a non-profit fair housing organization. In 1971, Mitchell was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Much of his legislative work focused on civil rights, fair housing, social justice,
and anti-poverty initiatives. He was one of the 13 founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Mitchell prided his close contact with his constituents, and every day commuted from Baltimore to Washington, DC.
Mitchell purchased 828 North Carrollton Avenue in 1986, shortly before his retirement from Congress. He remained active in community business issues, and established the Minority Business Enterprise Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Parren Mitchell died in 2007 and is remembered as a dedicated and successful legislator who focused on improving the economic and social welfare of minorities in Baltimore an across the nation. Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland described Mitchell as "never concerning himself about fame or fortune, but rather devoting himself entirely to uplifting the people he represented."
"If you believe in fighting racism, you make a commitment for the rest of your life...Our job is to fight it every day, to continue to shove it down and when it rises up to shove it down even harder."—Parren Mitchell
Upton Planning Committee, Sponsor-Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor-Baltimore National Heritage Area