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
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.