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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Mr. George E. Mitchell: Gone from Life in 2020, Alive in Park Heights in 2023

If Brandon M. Scott is the Baltimore mayor from Park Heights, then George E. Mitchell of Baltimore was the mayor of Park Heights. Except for Mayor Scott, Mr. Mitchell is arguably Park Heights favorite son…, and father, and brother, and mentor, and advocate and defender.

Upon his passing on July 14, 2020, from complications due to a surgical procedure, the outpouring of grief for Mitchell’s death was overshadowed by the emotionally powerful recollections and celebrations of his momentous life.

The sustained accolades recalling his dedication and selfless contributions to the Park Heights community came from the powerful and famous, the personal and anonymous, and the many humble, grateful recipients of Mitchell’s tireless efforts to strengthen, uplift, and provide for his northwest Baltimore neighbors.

“George Mitchell was a fearless, strong advocate for the Park Heights community.” – Joshua Richardson.  “He exemplified the best in what we can all strive to be for our communities.” — Kimberly Lodge.  His dedicated spirit in serving the Park Heights Community will truly be missed.” — Beverly.  “George E. Mitchell was a great community leader…” — Larry Miles. These sentiments only scratch the surface of many honors that poured in for Mitchell.

Mitchell was the founder and administrator of the Langston Hughes Community, Business and Resource Center in Lower Park Heights. He utilized this facility as a multi-faceted community resource, providing a wide range of services and provisions to the underserved and anyone who requested his assistance.

George Mitchell’s affinity for his community preceded him. He has been described as the personification of how African Americans should hold each other together and lift each other up. Recognizing Mitchell’s altruistic spirit, “keeping Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream alive in the hearts and minds of youth,” Baltimore’s Fox-45 TV bestowed him their 2019 Champion of Courage Award.

Mitchell demonstrated his work ethic, team spirit, leadership, and commitment to succeed, in his early youth, excelling as a football player. George showed prowess in sports and academics at Mergenthaler High School. 

Post-high school, Mitchell attended Morgan State University, becoming a two-time wrestling champion in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. He was also a standout Morgan Bears football player and pledged as a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. After Morgan, Mitchell continued his studies at Saint Leo University in Florida, with a concentration in Human Resource Science. Upon completion of his academic career, George did a stint in the U.S. Army.

In further preparation for his future career as a “wear-many-hats” community activist and social entrepreneur, George tried his hand at a series of successful business ventures. Mitchell became a Baltimore-based entertainment impresario, producing shows throughout the region for several years, featuring a roster of popular artists of the period. With solid master-of-ceremonies experience under his belt, George leveraged his promotional skills to open venues like the Electric Eye, a Baltimore nightclub. 

He followed up his entertainment industry success with a foray into food service, showcasing his culinary bona fides. Mitchell operated a series of restaurants in the Maryland/Virginia corridor, including “Big Daddy’s” in Baltimore, “Mitchells” in Petersburg, Virginia, “Uncle George’s” in St. Mary’s County Maryland, and “Prime Buffet” in Waldorf, Maryland. 

George Mitchell’s record of success as a restaurateur earned him an opportunity as one of the first African American Golden Corral Restaurant franchise owners in Maryland. Continuing his winning entrepreneurial pursuits, George became a successful realtor in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.

The cumulative educational, military, and business experiences that shaped George E. Mitchell’s impressive skill sets, would combine with his personal virtues of compassion, social conscience, empathy, and determination, positioning him to excel as a future Park Heights community leader, and establish the Langston Hughes Community, Business and Resource Center as his base of operations.

From this platform, Mitchell would assume his acclaimed role as Park Heights’ “mayor.” The facility was a refuge where children read books, learned foreign languages, and played team sports. For adults, the space featured a small business incubator, and was a safe haven for elders to congregate. The Langston Hughes center served thousands of nutritious meals weekly to needy families and individuals.

In October 2020, George Mitchell was posthumously honored with the George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, an annual feature at the Preakness at Pimlico Racecourse, when the Park Heights Renaissance Corporation confers its prestigious George E. Mitchell Community Fellowship Grant to an outstanding community group who’ve distinguished themselves consistent with the legacy of Mr. Mitchell. 

Join them May 20, 2023 at the Preakness Stakes for the third annual presentation of this year’s $30,000 grant recipient, Team F.A.B.  (Fight Against Blight )— a workforce development and life skills program provider, part of the eternal living legacy of George E. Mitchell.

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