Ahead of MLK Day, Davis Honors Life of Frank Mitchell
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) honors the life of Frank Mitchell on the House floor. Mitchell, who in 1965 served as the first African American pagein the U.S. House of Representatives since Reconstruction, passed away at the end of December.
Davis' written remarks:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to remember Frank Mitchell, a native of Springfield, Illinois and the first black page in the House of Representatives since Reconstruction.
As a student at Feitshans High School, Frank was asked to interview for a position as a page for then-U.S. Rep. Paul Findley. When the school principal, Irv Smith, called to say they’d selected Frank, he bought some suits, got a haircut, and headed for Washington.
After his year-long stint as a House page, Frank graduated from Feitshans in 1967, and went on to work as a newspaper and TV reporter, before accepting positions with the Illinois Attorney General and Cook County’s Stroger Hospital. He is well-known across the state for his work with the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative.
Paul Findley’s son, Craig, now Chairman of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board said that Frank’s appointment to House page was one of his father’s proudest accomplishments. “He brought credit to the page system,” Craig said. “I admired him for his service and for his friendship for decades.”
Almost everyone that knew Frank felt that way; admired him for his service and friendship. Frank was a very well-loved part of the Springfield community for years.
For so many, he was a role model and a mentor, and he will truly be missed.