University of Louisville honors its first African-American faculty member


The University of Louisville renamed its Freedom Park to honor the school’s first African-American faculty member.

UofL President James Ramsey speaks Wednesday at the renaming of Freedom Park to Charles H. Parrish, Jr., Freedom Park.

The park, located along Cardinal Boulevard between Second and Third streets, will now be known as the Charles H. Parrish, Jr., Freedom Park. It was renamed on Sept. 16.

Charles H. Parrish, Jr

Parrish was UofL’s first African-American educator and became known for his participation in the civil rights movement and in public service. He was born in Louisville, and he was educated at Howard University, Columbia University and the University of Chicago, where he received his Ph.D. in sociology in 1944.

Parrish (1899-1989) taught at Simmons College in the 1920s before joining UofL’s segregated Louisville Municipal College. He taught there for 20 years.

When Louisville Municipal College was absorbed into UofL’s Arts and Sciences Department in 1951, Parrish was the only faculty member retained. There, he became chairman of the sociology department and helped found the Southern Police Institute.

John Ramsey

“The University of Louisville enjoys a strong partnership with Simmons College, where Dr. Parrish taught early in his career,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “He went on to have a distinguished career and became well known as a scholar, author, teacher, administrator, activist and civil rights leader. By naming this park in his honor, we celebrate both his great legacy and our ongoing connection to Simmons College.”