Ed Smyth is a pioneer in Black Milwaukee in the real estate field. He was one of the first Black real estate brokers in metropolitan Milwaukee, even though others tried to shut him out of the markets. In addition to white realtors trying to shut him out, Smyth also found he lacked support from Black professionals who refused to retain him because of his race. They didn’t retain his services because they felt that his race hindered him from showing them the best bargains in the best neighborhoods.
Now retired, Smyth started his career during a time when many prospective homeowners didn’t embrace the notion of buying or selling their homes with a minority. Throughout his career, Smyth’s services were often refused by white clients simply because he was Black. Some balked after realizing he was black upon their first meeting. Other times he experienced the reluctance of high-profile clients who didn’t believe an African-American could find them the best bargain for their money.
Through sheer determination to succeed despite the odds that were against him, Smyth managed to enjoy a successful career in real estate. In honor of his longevity and integrity, he recently received the prestigious lifetime achievement award from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors. Considering that real estate is one of the industries that traditionally has not embraced diversity, this was quite a phenomenal achievement.
Smyth is a legend because he dared to do what others could not do, and managed to succeed, in spite of the odds against him.
Cecelia Gore is passionate about community involvement and, for the past several years she’s had the unique opportunity to put some money behind her passion—as program director of the Jane Bradley Pettit Foundation and, most recently, as the executive director of the newly formed Milwaukee Brewers Charities, Inc. (BCI).
An active participant in the community who serves on many boards, Gore is a Milwaukee native and graduate of Alverno College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business and Professional Communication and a master’s degree in Business Administration. After more than 30 years at Wisconsin Gas Company, Gore traded in her corporate hat to work for a non-profit foundation.
Gore had wonderful role models in her mother and father, who taught her the importance of community service and giving back. Her father, William Gore, a retired social worker and community leader, was well known for giving back to the community and helping to bridge racial and political gaps. Gore beams with pride when she thinks of her dad because she knows how proud he is that she has continued the tradition of meeting the needs of underserved communities—a philosophy that he wholeheartedly embraced. Through the Brewers Community Foundation Gore’s priority is to work to ensure that the organization will have a major impact in the community in its defined focus areas.
Gore remains committed to and involved in the Downtown Rotary, Women’s Fund, Donors Forum, Milwaukee Public Library, Local Initiative Support Corporation, and the Housing Trust Fund. She has received numerous awards for her tireless community service, including the Business Journal Women of Influence, U.S. Postal Service Putting Her Stamp on Milwaukee, YWCA Outstanding Woman of Achievement, and the Girl Scouts Community Leadership Award
Judge Clarence R. Parrish
Judge Clarence Randolph Parrish was a man who wore many hats and embraced many passions. He was an attorney, a judge, an ordained minister, entrepreneur, humanitarian, lecturer, husband, father and a published author.
Born in North Carolina, Judge Parrish served for three years in the U.S. Army during World War II. He later enrolled in St. John’s University in Brooklyn, New York, where he earned the degree of L.L. B. and a Master of Law degree at the University of Wisconsin.
From an early age, Judge Parrish enjoyed writing, penning his first poem at the age of 12. From there he wrote for both his junior and senior high school newspapers.
After graduation he wrote briefly for the “People’s Voice,” an Adam Clayton Powell publication in New York.
When Judge Parrish moved to Milwaukee he wrote a column called “Whetstone” for Cleveland Colbert’s paper, a Black publisher who had his own press.
Later Judge Parrish would publish numerous legal briefs and, ultimately, a novel entitled, “Images of Democracy.”
Apart from his writing and his career as an accomplished attorney and later a judge, Judge Parrish was deeply involved in various civic and community activities. He was a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Milwaukee Bar Association and the National Bar Association.
He served as president of the NAACP—Milwaukee Chapter, was on the board of directors of the YWCA, was founder of Milwaukee graduate chapter of Omega Psi Pi, and he was Mayor of Bronzeville.
Parrish was also a trailblazer. He and his wife, Mildred (English) and their two daughters, Sheila and Sharon, were the first Blacks to live in Wauwatosa. He was also the first Black appointed to Wauwatosa’s city administration, when he accepted the position on the building board.
Now deceased, Judge Parrish throughout his lifetime received numerous awards and recognitions, one of the most notable are the Clarence Parrish Apartments, located on King Drive, named in is honor.