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Caryn E. Neumann

civil rights activist, member of Congress, and a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus. Parren James Mitchell, nicknamed “PJ,” was born in Baltimore, Maryland, as the ninth of ten children, three of whom died in childhood. He attended Baltimore public schools. Enlisting in the army during World War II, Mitchell won a Purple Heart while serving as a company commander in Italy.

Mitchell subsequently earned a bachelor's degree in 1950 from what is now Morgan State University and applied to the sociology graduate program at the University of Maryland. The university refused to admit Mitchell to its College Park campus because of his race and instead established a separate off-campus graduate program for him in Baltimore. Mitchell sued and became the first African American graduate student at Maryland. After earning his master's in 1952 Mitchell taught at Morgan State He headed the antipoverty program in Baltimore in ...


Glenn Allen Knoblock

Vietnam War veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, the son of John Morris, a carpenter and cement worker, and Madeleine Morris, a domestic worker. As a youth Melvin Morris worked not only in the fields picking cotton, but also alongside his father when not in school, hauling lumber and sacks of cement. He would later comment that “he was used to working hard as a kid,” experiences that would help him develop a physical and mental toughness that would serve him well in his future military career. Morris also gained a strong appreciation of military service through contact with an uncle who had served in the U.S. Army's 555th “Triple Nickels” Parachute Infantry Battalion, the army's first trained African American airborne soldiers. At the age of seventeen in 1959 Melvin Morris dropped out of school to join the Oklahoma National Guard which ...