- James Kates
lawyer, political operative, and corporate executive. Richard Dean Parsons rose to the highest ranks in corporate America as head of Time Warner, the world's largest media company at the time. From modest beginnings, Parsons became a protégé of New York's Rockefeller family and won fame as a political strategist, negotiator, and consensus builder.
Parsons was born in Brooklyn, New York. From Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, the Parsons family moved to the New York City borough of Queens, where young Richard went to school in an ethnically mixed setting that included Jews and Italian Americans. His father was a technician for Sperry Rand Corporation, and his mother was a homemaker; his grandfather had worked as a groundskeeper for the Rockefellers. A precocious student, Parsons skipped two grades and entered the University of Hawaii at age sixteen. He graduated from Albany Law School in 1971 achieving the highest score ...
A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present.