Skip to main content

Sherman Parks papers

Call Number: RH MS 498


The papers of Sherman Parks are those of a Topeka, Kansas lawyer who was the first African American appointment to a Kansas appellate judgeship when appointed to the Kansas State Court of Appeals. Most ofthe papers and photographs in this collection relate to the Kansas Court of Appeals.


  • Creation: 1976 - 1987


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Sherman Parks

Sherman A. Parks, Sr. was born in May 15, 1924 in Topeka, Kansas. He graduated from Topeka High School and then attended Washburn University, graduating in 1949. In 1955, Parks graduated from Washburn Law School; he was awarded a juris doctorate from that school in 1970.

Parks was in private practice as a lawyer until he was appointed Shawnee County's assistant county attorney, 1961-66; he then became an attorney for the State Alcoholic Beverages Control Agency until 1968. From 1968 to 1971, Parks served as an assistant attorney general, and from 1971 to 1976 he served as counsel for the Secretary of State.

In 1977, Parks was appointed to the Kansas State Court of Appeals, becoming the first African American appointed to an appellate judgeship in the state. He was reelected to the position in 1980 and 1984 and retired in 1987.

Parks was also highly active in the Topeka community. He remained active at his alma mater, Washburn, by serving on the Board of Governors of the Law School Association, lecturing at the Law School, and serving on the University's Board of Trustees. In serving as both a member and chair, Parks became the first African American appointed to the Washburn Board of Regents from 1968-1976. He was also the first African American to serve on the Selective Service Board of Kansas (1967-1976). Parks also served on the board of the Topeka YMCA and as president of the Topeka Council of the PTA. In June 1949, Parks married Alberta L. Lewis; the couple had one son, Sherman A. Parks, Jr. Sherman A. Parks, Sr. died April 8, 1996.


1.5 Linear Feet (2 boxes + 5 folders)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The papers of Sherman Parks date from 1976 to 1987 and are arranged in a single series. They consist mainly of Kansas Court of Appeals documents, including Memoranda Opinions and Court Syllabi. These court documents are filed together and arranged chronologically. Other papers consist of clippings and Washburn University Law School information. Some items are photocopies rather than originals and have been so noted. Folder arrangement is alphabetical by topic.

Photographs from the collection are located at RH MS-P 498. Copy negatives are available for each photograph.

Physical Location

RH MS 498

Physical Location

RH MS-P 498

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Sherman A. Parks, 1988.

Guide to the Sherman Parks Collection
Sherman Parks papers
Finding aid prepared by mbw, 2006; revised by cl, 2010. Finding aid encoded by mbw, 2006.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in<language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
Support for the processing of this Collection was provided by the Dana and Sue Anderson African American Collecting Program Endowment Fund.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Sherman Parks papers, Kansas Collection, RH MS 498, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States