Henry E. Parker 1928-2018 Past Connecticut State Treasurer, first Kappa Foundation President

By Aaron Williams

A ccolades and remembrances from around the state of Connecticut abound with the announcement of the pass- ing of Brother Henry “Hank” Ellsworth Parker (Beta Chi 1954). Former Hart- ford, CT city council president Shawn Wooden, remembered Parker, “He was a courageous and fearless pioneer in so many aspects of his life, and an inspira- tion to me and generations of African Americans for the way he opened doors to promote diversity in the financial services community. Whether as state treasurer, on Wall Street or in his home- town of New Haven, Hank was the true definition of a leader who spent his life breaking down barriers for himself and for those who would follow him.’’

Parker served from 1974-1986 as the state treasurer; the first African Ameri- can to hold the office full-time in Con- necticut state history. Within Kappa Alpha Psi®, Parker made history as the first president of the Kappa Alpha Psi ® Foundation. Brother Henry E. Parker transitioned to the Chapter Invisible on September 29, 2018 at the age of 90. Brother Parker was born to the late Daisy and Henry L. Parker in Baltimore, MD on Feb. 14, 1928. He was recog- nized as a good athlete in both high school and college. His play on the basketball court created an opportunity for him to join the Harlem Globetrot- ters which he spurned for college. He served in the United States Army prior to his attendance at Hampton Institute

(now University) earning a bachelor’s degree in 1956. He subsequently earned a master’s degree from Southern Con- necticut State College. In 1957, he moved to New Haven, CT to direct the city’s first community school, Winchester Community School. In 1967 he became chairman of the New Haven Black Coalition and left this post in 1969 for the first of three unsuccessful attempts to become mayor of New Haven. The headline in the May 1975 Kappa Alpha Psi ® Journal article proclaimed, “Connecticut’s Big Boss: Life Mem- ber ‘Hank’ Parker” which highlighted Brother Parker’s historic election as State Treasurer in 1974. At the time of his election as state treasurer, he was


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