Dr. Arthur Harold Parker, 1870 - 1939
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Who Was He?
Before Henry Ford introduced the Model T, a modest "high school" for blacks - with Arthur Harold Parker as its first principal - opened with 18 students in Birmingham. Parker had been born to former slaves. The year was 1900. When Parker retired on the eve of WWII it was the largest high school for blacks in the world, known for producing unusually large numbers of unusually competent graduates. In 2011, Parker High School moved into a new facility designed with the 21st century in mind, thus renewing the legacy of Dr. Arthur Harold Parker, the progenitor of a dream made real. Their alumni may be found in the highest levels of industry. They call themselves the "Thundering Herd".
Commissioned by the Birmingham Board of Education.
My Take on Dr. Parker, Parker High School and The American Century
Where is It?
The sculpture is permanently installed in the interior courtyard of Parker High School, 400 Reverand Abraham L. Woods Jr. Blvd Birmingham, AL.

Arthur Harold Parker High School
How Big is It?
* 5 foot, 6 inches in height, including a 1/2 inch thick bronze platform.
* A traditional cast bronze sculpture on a 7 inch thick natural stone base.
* Unique and signed by the sculptor
* Unveiled on August 18th, 2013

Parker High School Statue Unveiling
Photo credit:
See the Life-Size Clay Model
Before the Bronze was Created on
flickr logo

Arthur Harold Parker Sculpture Project
What's on the Clipboard?
The clipboard contains an excerpt from a speech given by Arthur H. Parker to the Alabama State Teachers Association in Mobile, Alabama in 1906 shortly after being elected as its President.

"Real teaching is from the soul not from the mouth, and what the teacher is, develops and grows in his pupils. The boys and girls of today must draw in deep and holy inspirations and form noble and lofty ideals. The profession of teaching needs the best product that the race produces. It needs men and women who are morally, mentally and physically strong and sound."

Arthur Parker speech
An Audio Podcast
Owens talks about the design and how it begins to take shape in the mind.

Arthur Parker 
  My Take on Dr. Parker, Parker High School and The American Century
by Brian R. Owens

You were born in 1870 to former slaves and raised in a world without telephones. Without radio. Without automobiles. On the eve of your death you live in a world of affordable cars, movies, propeller aircraft, submarines, naval destroyers, carrier-based naval bombers and the rise of the "Third Reich". A world only 6 years away from dropping the first atomic bomb. It is 1939. As an educator, you are an icon. A local hero. And yet, in the land of your birth you are still not recognized by law as a human being in all of its states. To study Dr. Parker and the high school that he founded is to study the promise of education and integration, the unfolding of this nation, the end of its childhood and the multiple contradictions that arose from it.

On the surface, this is the story of a maverick educator and life in the South. Below the surface, its about the rise and fall of industries; the birth and death of neighborhoods; the paradox of urban America where extraordinary talent is found where many least expect it. It's also about how one person made a difference and created a legacy. A legacy that would flourish, wither, border on death and then be reborn. You don't have to be African American to appreciate this perspective of the American Experience. In various ways, we are all connected to it. Christopher Hitchins put it this way in another context:
"I will deploy the words, I think, of Horace ... Mutato nominae et, de te fabula narratur.
Change only the name and the story is about you."

NPR, All Things Considered, May 4, 2004
Parker High: Integration's Unfulfilled Promise, by Michele Norris

Birmingham Public Library
The Life and Legacy of Dr. Arthur Harold Parker

African-American News and Commentary
About the Sculptor

Photo image of Brian R Owens

Brian R. Owens is a second-generation professional artist; a sculptor and painter, schooled in the methods and materials of classical, traditional fine art. Owens' studio is based in central Florida about half an hour north of the Orlando metro area.

For more information, call Owens directly at 386-956-1724 anytime after 10 AM Eastern time. Click on the link below to review his online biography and resume.

CLICK HERE to review Owens' biography and resume

CLICK HERE to see more Sculpture

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