Pelosi Delivers Eulogy for Former Congressman Parren Mitchell of Maryland
Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered a eulogy today in Baltimore at the funeral of former Congressman Parren Mitchell of Maryland. Below are her remarks as prepared:
"With the passing of Parren Mitchell, our nation has lost one of its most passionate champions of justice and equality. I offer my deepest condolences on behalf of all of my colleagues in the House to Congressman Mitchell's family, friends, and all who loved him.
"Growing up in Baltimore, I learned to revere the Mitchell family for their dedication to economic and social justice. Parren, his brother Clarence, and indeed his entire family, were devoted to economic and social justice. For that, we have all benefited. That is because their advocacy brought us closer to the ideal of equality that is both America's heritage and our hope.
"In 1971, equality took a great leap forward when Parren Mitchell was sworn in as the first African American congressman from Maryland. It was a tremendous achievement. But our excitement over this achievement was tempered by another sad fact - Parren Mitchell was the first African American congressman from below the Mason-Dixon Line since 1898.
"It is also a great testament to the leadership of Parren Mitchell that the organization he helped found - the Congressional Black Caucus - continues to serve as the conscience of the Congress and increase its ranks to the benefit of all Americans. I am sure Mr. Mitchell is looking down upon us today and that he is pleased that so many CBC members are here to honor him today.
"Across the 85 years of Parren Mitchell's life - in his own story and the story of America - we see the slow march of progress. We celebrate today a man who made sure that, however slow at times, we continue to march in the right direction - toward peace, understanding, and justice for all.
"For that service to his country, I am proud to present to Michael Mitchell this American flag, which was flown in honor of Congressman Parren Mitchell. It is a fitting tribute for a man who spent his life fighting for the ideals that are represented by the Stars and Stripes.
"With Congressman Mitchell's passing, we have lost a friend, a former colleague, and a passionate advocate for seeing that America's promise of freedom and equality are realized by all of our citizens. I hope it is a comfort to Congressman Mitchell's family and friends that so many people mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time."