The papers of Dr. Charles Henry Parrish date from 1931-1983. The material in the collection reflects Parrish's years of study towards a positive solution for existing racial problems. It shows his deep dedication to not only reform the general educational standards of Kentucky, but also the level of education for African-American students.
Finding Aid Author
University of Louisville
Biography / History
Charles Henry Parrish was born in Louisville, KY 12 January 1899 to Charles and Mary Parrish. He grew up in a household determined to change the history of Black Americans. Parrish's father, Charles Sr., was born a slave and eventually became president of Simmons University in Louisville. With this emphasis on education, Parrish graduated from Central High School in 1916 and received his A.B. in 1920 from Howard University in Mathematics. Parrish returned to Louisville, where in 1921 (after receiving his M.A. in Sociology from Columbia University), he began teaching at Simmons University. In 1944, he received his Ph.D. from the University if Chicago. That same year, on 30 September, Parrish married Frances Murrel, with whom he had one daughter, Dr. Ursula Daniels.
Parrish had an extensive career in education. He taught mathematics at Simmons University from 1921 until 1931, at which time he left Simmons and began teaching sociology and education at Louisville Municipal College. In 1951, when Louisville Municipal College merged with the University of Louisville, Parrish became the first African-American to join the faculty at the University of Louisville when he joined the Department of Sociology. Eight years later, he became the head of the department. Parrish retired from the University of Louisville in 1969, but he did not retire from education altogether. From 1972-1973, he acted as the Interim Chair of the Department of Sociology at Dillard University in New Orleans, LA.
Parrish's life did not revolve solely around education. Instead, his life and studies revolved around the betterment of the African-American community, starting in Louisville and hopefully spreading throughout the nation. Published numeroustimes, Parrish became a critic of desegregation. In his necessity to alter community relations, he belonged to various committees, including the Louisville and National Urban League, the National Council of Christians and Jews, the Kentucky Constitution Revision Assembly, and the Southern Regional Council. Parrish also was chairman of the Louisville-Jefferson County Community Action Commission (1966 and 1967) and a member of the Mayor's Committee on Human Rights (1958-1961). But he was also concerned with race and children, exemplified by his membership to the Advisory Committee of the Jefferson County Juvenile Court and his position on the board of the Children's Hospital.
Parrish received commendation for his roles as educator, social scientist, and mentor within the African-American community. He was awarded the Lincoln Key in 1952 for his contributions to African-American education. In 1966 he received the Ottenheimer Award for his work in race relations, poverty, and other areas of public social service.
On 15 July 1989 Dr. Charles Henry Parrish died after years of service to Louisville and the African-American community. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and grandchild.
Due to the lack of materials on Ursula Parrish West, her biographical sketch is not included. The other sketches do not claim to be complete, but are only included as a reference for the researcher.
Scope and Content
The Charles Henry Parrish, Jr., Papers, 1897-1969, document the lives of his parents, wife and daughter, as well as his career in teaching, civil rights and community work. As a Louisville family whose work revolved around the local community, the Charles Henry Parrish, Jr., Papers reflect the growth of their work in human rights and community concerns in this region.
The Charles Henry Parrish, Sr., and Mary V. Cook Parrish records, 1897-1945, include insurance policies, correspondence on legal and financial matters, devotional books, receipts, statements, bank books, and some notes. Of special interest is a typed text regarding the 1904 trip to Jerusalem and a resolution adopted by board of trustees of Lincoln Institute upon the resignation of Charles Henry Parrish, Sr., from the board. As a collection, these records fail to document much of either Charles Henry Parrish, Sr., or Mary Parrish's involvement in church work, education, writing, or civil rights. However, these records provide an insight in their personal lives for a period of about fifty years.
The three boxes of the Frances Parrish papers contain material on her work in civil service and recreation. Dating from 1949-1967, the papers include professional and personal correspondence, minutes, annual reports, financial material, newspaper articles, and graduate papers. Letters of recommendation written for Frances Parrish, note cards for a speech and In-Service Training Program materials are also contained in the collection. As a member of the Committee on In-Service Education for recreation personnel for the American Recreation Association, Frances Parrish corresponded with other recreation professionals regarding in-service training. This correspondence and various reports show the extent of her involvement in recreation nationally. One box of student papers resulted from teaching sociology at Nazareth College in Nazareth, Kentucky in 1967.
As shown by the biographical sketch, from 1962 to 1964, Frances Parrish appears to work in several places at one time. Her papers fail to explain this problem. Noticeably lacking is personal material, such as extensive correspondence for the years 1949-1967.
To document the activities of Ursula Parrish West, daughter of Frances and C.H. Parrish, Jr., a few newspaper clippings, photographs, some correspondence, and assorted memorabilia outline her activities as an undergraduate and graduate from 1958-1967.
Personal and professional correspondence, drafts and final copies of papers, photographs, financial records, reports, newspaper articles, minutes, brochures, memoranda, proposals, and notes from 1954 to 1967 represent the career of Charles Henry Parrish, Jr. Covering his activities as a scholar, educator, sociologist, consultant, speaker, and organizer of academic, human rights, and community interests, these records reflect Parrish's development as a leader in Louisville, the South, and abroad.
The papers contain the records of several local and southern agencies. Some organizations are strongly represented, such as the Kentucky Constitution Revision Assembly, the Community Action Commission, and the Southern Regional Council. Materials from other organizations and agencies include newsletters, pamphlets, program announcements, reports, constitutions, memoranda, minutes, and correspondence.
Over twenty years of personal and professional correspondence constitute one of the strengths of the collection. This correspondence, for example, illustrates his avid interest in bridge, the extent of his professional contacts, and the intensity of his committments to academics and civil rights.
Teaching and class materials are the weakest section of the papers. The papers lack a complete series of tests, lecture notes, and course outlines. Furthermore, the papers do not indicate the extent of his responsibilities as a professor of Sociology.
C.H. Parrish, Jr. collected newspapers clippings on various subjects, many about his wife and himself. From his trips to Africa, he brought back newspapers, several of which are included in the collection.
Drafts and final copies of papers and articles provide additional interest. In processing, loose sheets of several texts were organized. Many manuscripts had to be left incomplete because of missing pages. In addition, some papers have annotations, corrections, and insertions. These drafts are separated according to their completeness. Most are undated.
At the time the Archives acquired the papers, Charles Henry Parrish, Jr., was still alive, writing, and had other papers in his possession. Although in retirement, he continues to conduct research and plan other academic activities.
Contents of the Collection
1. Working Files 1947-1968
Arranged alphabetically by organization and type of material
Working papers concerning the Louisville Urban League, the National Urban League, the Southern Regional Council, Health and Welfare Council, and the Children's Hospital: proposals, memoranda (some written by C.H.Parrish, Jr.), newsletters, brochures, announcements, reports (including a National Urban League study on the Louisville black population and a review of the Louisville Urban League, 1948), amendments, program material, minutes, annual reports, expense and income statements.
Arranged alphabetically by program and type of material
Correspondence copies, newsletters, minutes of different committees, proposals, reports, financial statements, administration by-laws, and C.A.C. Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual.
Arranged by type of material
Announcements, minutes, incomplete series of periodicals, amendments to the constitution, the constitution of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, reports, budgets, convention information, committee assignments, memoranda, and 1976 directory of members.
Arranged by code number
In 1938 the American Youth Commission sponsored a national study on American youth. Dr. E. Franklin Frazier headed an intensive study of two American cities; Washington, D.C., and Louisville, Kentucky, using the interview method to conduct the study. These "Life Histories," are the result of interviews gathered in Louisville. C.H.Parrish, Jr., supervised the Louisville study as "Regional Director." From the interviews conducted in the two cities, Frazier wrote his book Negro Youth at the Crossways.
The interviews seem to have been conducted with no apparent promise of confidentiality. However, the University Archives restricts the use of the name of any person mentioned in any interview.
Researchers can also refer to the June 6, 1938 issue of Life for information on the American Youth Commission and its national studies.
11. United States-South Africa Leader Exchange Program, Inc. 1961-1966
Arranged alphabetically and by type of material
Curriculum Vitae of exchange professors, itineraries, summary of the South African trip in itinerary form, reports, travel material and correspondence relating to the trip.
Arranged by subject and by type of material, alphabetically
Reports, articles, charts, maps, brochures, pamphlets and proposals. Of special interest area a report to the Board of Education from Omar Carmichael in 1957 regarding desecregation in Louisville, speech text by R.B.Atwood on black colleges in a racially integrated system of higher education, and a primer written by Rufus Clements and C.H.Parrish. This primer was part of the "Our Community Series," written to allow rural Georgia children to read and learn about their community.
Subsequent to the processing of his papers, on June 20, 1978 Dr. Parrish reclaimed the financial materials (bank statements, check records, tax records, receipts and notices) originally contained in Box 19.
21. Charles Henry Parrish, Sr., and Mary V. Cook Parrish Materials 1904-1945
Arranged alphabetically and by type of material
Bankbooks, correspondence regarding legal matters, notes, receipts, a resolution adopted by the board of trustees of the Lincoln Institute, statements, typed text concerning the 1904 trip to Jerusalem, and insurance policies, and obituary of Mary V. Cook Parrish by C.H.Parrish, Jr.
24. Outgoing Professional Correspondence 1950-1975
Outgoing correspondence dealing with the 1962 and the 1965 trips to Africa, trip to Alabama counties to research black community leaders' feelings about the 1954 Supreme Court decision on school desegregation, letters to editors of various papers, the closing of Louisville Municipal College and faculty tenure, proposals (for example, the Role of Social Sciences in Black Studies Programs), speaking engagements, workshops and committee work.
Books on black Kentucky Baptists, edited by C.H.Parrish, Sr., on business and employment among blacks in Louisville and the First Baptist World Congress in London with verbatim text of C.H.Parrish, Sr.'s speech to the Congress.
27. Literary manuscripts of Charles Henry Parrish, Jr. 1931-1975
Arranged by subject, alphabetically
Typed and published copies of papers and articles in rough and final draft form. Manuscripts included in this series are: "The Emergence of Traditional Negro Traits," "Do Negroes Really Want Integration?," "Race Relations (Abstract)," "The Effects of Subordination Upon the Negro," "Subjective Reactions to Color," "A Memorandum on the Nature of Experiment," "Studies of Desegregation in Process," and "Desegregation in Public Education--One Year Afterward."
Arranged alphabetically and by type of material
Bridge score cards, curriculum vitae, invitation to the 1965 presidential inauguration, marriage certificate, commencement manual, funeral book for Frank Hawkins Parrish, notes taken as a graduate student, and an album commerating the 140th anniversary of Calvary Baptist Church (1969).
Arranged alphabetically and by type of material
Financial material, personal correspondence, an autographed book, letters of recommendation for Frances Parrish (restricted until her death), note cards for a speech and a draft of her master's thesis.
Arranged by subject, persons involved and alphabetically
Photographs of Charles Henry Parrish, Sr., Charles Henry Parrish, Jr., Frances Murrell Parrish, Ursula Parrish West and friends and colleagues of the family. Most are unidentified and without dates.
Box contains two tapes: 1) Panel discussion in Louisville on desegregation with Charles Henry Parrish, Jr., as moderator. The panel included Weldon James, a Courier-Journal reporter; Dr. John Ford, then a professor at Bellarmine College; and Mr.? Jackson. n.d.
2) Radio program broadcast from Atlanta, Georgia in 1953. Dr. Rufus E. Clements, formerly of Louisville Municipal College, was accused of Communist party affiliation during his campaign for school board position. The tape includes both the accusation and the defense of Dr. Clements which he presented himself. This box contains the master tape. The researcher's copy is housed in the oral history tape cabinet. # 682
Arranged by topic, alphabetically
Questionnaires on color and racial notions and adjustment to the University of Louisville; studies on desegretation done for the Southern Regional Council; correspondence, statistics, the 1951-1952 report and a follow-up study (1962) on high-potential sixth graders in Louisville Public Schools.
Students' papers on the role of color in race relations, and "Color Autobiographies," statements by Dr. Parrish on the closing of Louisville Municipal College, memoranda to the faculty, L.M.C.'s Merger Resolution, statements by faculty members on the closing of L.M.C., and opinions on the Kentucky Day Law prohibiting racially integrated public and private schools.
--The separation sheet indicates that this photo is in BOX 18 - "Misc. Legal Size Material of the Charles Henry Parrish Jr. Papers"
Box 33, folder 2
Eight permalife folders (#'s 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10) containing the original photographs xeroxed in FOLDER #1, plus 35mm negatives. Permalife folder 10 contains a small photo album of the Soviet Union; 20 (1'x 1') prints.
This is a miscellaneous collection of photographs includingfive color prints of the same man; a studio portrait of a baby; and two prints made from the nitrate negative (a woman's portrait). On the whole, the prints are in poor condition having suffered water damage and mildew. The nitrate negative is not in good shape either, as can be seen from the prints.
-11 photographs, all 3'x4' mounted on 4'x5' board.
Box 33, folder 12
All the photographs are identified on the front of the mount, and show C.H. Parrish at various sites in Jerusalem. Some boards show evidence of mildew and water damage. However, the photographs themselves are in good condition.