1998 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Representatives Flaggs, Banks, Bozeman, Clarke, Coleman (65th), Evans, Green (72nd), Middleton, Robinson (63rd), Wallace

House Concurrent Resolution 10

(As Adopted by House and Senate)


WHEREAS, Attorney Frank Ruff Parker, III, departed this life on July 10, 1997; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Parker was born May 11, 1940, in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, to Marjorie LaClair Parker and Frank R. Parker, Sr.; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Parker attended the public schools in Steubenville, Ohio, graduated from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, received a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to Oxford University in Oxford, England, received an Erwin N. Griswold Scholarship to Harvard Law School, where he obtained his L.L.B. degree in 1966 and was admitted to practice law in Mississippi and the District of Columbia; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Parker began his legal career as a staff attorney in the Office of General Counsel of the United States Commission on Civil Rights from 1966 to 1968, he moved to Jackson, Mississippi, in 1968 as a staff attorney with the Jackson office of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and later became chief counsel in 1976 and litigated dozens of voting rights and employment discrimination cases that would forever change the course of Mississippi's history; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Parker served as chief counsel or co-counsel in several landmark cases, including, but not limited to, Brooks v. Winter, which resulted in the creation of a majority Black court-ordered congressional district and the election in 1986 of Mike Espy, the first Black member of Congress from Mississippi since Reconstruction; and Connor v. Finch, which resulted in four Black legislators elected to the Mississippi Legislature in Hinds County in 1975 and a total of 17 Black legislators elected statewide from single member districts in 1979; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Parker became an associate professor of Political Science at Tougaloo College from 1975 to 1976 and he returned to Washington, D.C., in 1981, as voting rights director for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; and

WHEREAS, head of the voting rights project until 1993, Mr. Parker was a leader in the effort to gain passage of the Voter Registration Act of 1993, the "motor-voter" law; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Parker taught at the District of Columbia School of Law from 1993 to 1995, he taught at American University in 1996 and then accepted an appointment as a visiting professor at Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia, teaching constitutional law; and

WHEREAS, being recognized throughout the nation for his distinguished legal and literary career, Mr. Parker's book, Black Votes Count, received numerous awards in 1991, including the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association, the Ralph J. Bunch Award from the American Political Science Association, the V. O. Key Award from the Southern Political Science Association, the McLemore Prize from the Mississippi Historical Society, and the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in the United States Outstanding Book Award; and

WHEREAS, always willing to serve his community, Mr. Parker was rewarded with an Honorary Black Man of the Year Award in 1970, the Martin Luther King-John F. Kennedy Award from the Mississippi Council on Human Relations in 1974 and the Jackson Branch NAACP Freedom Award in 1975; and

WHEREAS, a loving husband and father, Mr. Parker was married to the lovely Anne Burlock Lawver and they are the parents of four children, Ian, Kevin, Barbara and Stephanie; and

WHEREAS, the resonant voice and works of a great civil rights activist and humanitarian has ceased, but the genuineness and the genius of his works will live eternally:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby commend the life and phenomenal accomplishments of Attorney Frank Ruff Parker, III, and extend our deepest sympathy to his family upon his passing.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to Mrs. Anne Parker and to members of the Capitol Press Corps.