My Contribution: My pharmacy was a bustling place that served a diverse community of whites and Blacks. I was involved in local politics and active in forming a YMCA and YWCA for the African Americans of the city. I worked closely with many who loved Harrisburg in order to bring improvements to their lives.
My Legacy: My work with the creation of the YMCA and YWCA for the African Americans of the city had a lasting impact on opportunities for recreation and development. I worked for the strengthening of the African American community through voting and social organizations, which bettered the community for the next generation.
About Me: “He has met with splendid encouragement in his business venture, and enjoys the patronage of both white and colored people.” — Pennsylvania Negro Business Directory, 1910.
Full Name: Henry Edwin Parson
Birth Date: July 19, 1885
Death Date: September 28, 1944 (buried in William Howard Day Cemetery, Steelton, Pennsylvania)
Place of Birth: Dublin, Harford County, Maryland
Places of Residence: Harrisburg: 1162 Cameron Street, 440 South Street, 1104 N. 7th Street, 637 Boyd Street, and 9 S. 16th Street; Philadelphia (pharmacy school).
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Resident and pharmacist; business offered a neighborhood social hangout.
Family Members: Father: Isaiah Parson. Mother: Mary A. (Prigg) Parson. Siblings: Lillian C. Parson Wright, Samuel Walter Parson, Mary Parson, Ruth N. Parson Green, Elsie Parson Beckett. Cousin: Irvin Parson. Wife: Fannie/Jennie (Jackson) Parson. Father-in-Law: Richard Jackson; Sister-in-Law: Lizzie Jackson. Children: Sarah Alyce (Parson) Phillips and H. Jackson Parson.
Education: Central High School, 1905. Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Doctor of Pharmacy, 1908.
Occupations: Pharmacist, Morris’ Pharmacy, Atlantic City, New Jersey. Harrisburg Housing Authority.
Church Membership: Bethel A.M.E. Church, Steelton A.M.E. Church.
Activism: Committee to establish the YMCA and YWCA for African Americans in Harrisburg, Sanhedrin Court and Knights of the Round Table, NAACP of Harrisburg (Executive committee), Song Festival committee, Bethel A.M.E. Church, and Dauphin County Afro-American League.
Connections: A. Dennee Bibb, Dr. A. Leslie Marshall, Harry Burrs, W.E. Marshall, Harry Burrs, James H. W. Howard. On committee to plan YMCA/YWCA with Dr. Charles Crampton, Dr. Morris Layton, Jr.,