A native New Yorker, Richard Parnell Habersham II was born and raised in Harlem. Richard attended Riverside Church Nursery School, went to Horace Mann School in the Bronx, Professional Children’s School, and attended LaGuardia High School of Music & Arts and Performing Arts High School, located near Lincoln Center - ultimately graduating from the Dwight School in Manhattan.
As a child, Richard appeared in the Broadway production of August Wilson’s drama, Joe Turner's Come and Gone. He played principal characters in Spike Lee's movie, Do The Right Thing and the The Long Walk Home with Whoopi Goldberg.
Richard earned a bachelor’s degree in American History from the University of Virginia, and returned to Harlem after graduation working as a substitute teacher in Harlem for the New York City Public Schools. He also wrote a political column for the New York Beacon catching the attention of Peter Jennings, who hired him as his special assistant at ABC News and World News Tonight. Working as an off-air reporter at ABC News, Richard covered stories on racial profiling and police brutality. Later, as a news assistant for NY-1 News, Richard covered the New York Senate race, the 2000 Presidential Primaries and the 2000 elections.
Following a period as a television news reporter in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida, Richard returned to Harlem and took notice of the rocketing demand for Harlem Brownstones. Alarmed that many of elderly, long-time residents, were gulled into selling their homes way below market value, he decided to work directly with these homeowners to achieve their best possible price.
In 2008, Richard graduated with a master’s degree from Columbia University's School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. A year later he would welcome his first son Richard Parnell Habersham III. While struggling to stay afloat financially during the 2009 “Great Recession,” and being evicted from his Harlem apartment because he and his wife could no longer afford the skyrocketing rents in Harlem, Richard like so many others around the country, had to focus full time attention on taking care of an elderly parent and his young son. His father Dickie Habersham-Bey—a lifelong entrepreneur and owner of the famed Blue Coronet in Brooklyn, and Count Basie Joint in Harlem—contracted cancer and needed around the clock care. Richard moved in, and for several years ministered to his stricken father until he succumbed to this dreadful disease.
During this time Richard began switching his focus from real estate, working on public policy issues including rallying support for Mayoral Control of the School, setting the stage for the city’s groundbreaking Universal Pre-K program.
He established and ran a corporate diversity program for Wareham Associates Inc, a New York headquartered leadership development firm, founded by John Wareham. Wareham is also creator of the Eagles Foundation and the Taking Wings self-development program for prison inmates and ‘at-risk’ youth. Richard co-presented the Taking Wings program at Downstate Correctional Facility. In New Zealand, along with John Wareham, Richard co-produced a highly successful Taking Wings weekend retreat at the sacred Maori Otatara Pa for the local gangs responsible for eighty percent of local crime.
Now, more than ever, we need real leadership. The lack of affordable housing is driving working class people out of our community. A failing education system is a catastrophe for communities like our own; our districts schools are among the worst in the city, failing at preparing our children for the jobs of today, let alone tomorrow. I am not someone that is just talking about these problems I am raising a child here and I am living them.
Our campaign is focused on creating solutions to these daunting and depressing problems, Every kid, rich or poor—with good or not so good parents—deserves an exceptional education. or the opportunity to learn a marketable skill. We’re not going to accept that this is how life in this district should be. I hope you will join our movement.
Richard currently lives on Riverside Drive and sits on the board of the Classical Theater of Harlem.
We want to hear from you.
A financial contribution of any amount is meaningful. It lets me know that I have your support and encourages others with deeper pockets to contribute. But don’t feel as if a financial contribution is all that you can give or all that I’ll need. I’ll need volunteers, activists, concerned neighbors of all ages to contribute their time and lend their voices to spreading the word about who I am and what this campaign is about. If you are interested in volunteering to work on this campaign, please email me.
I welcome the opportunity to talk about my campaign and what I believe I can achieve for us if I am elected your next Congressman.
At A Glance
For Congress NY 13 district
Richard Parnell Habersham II
Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
University of Virginia
B.A., American History, 1996
Activities & Affiliations
• Classical Theater of Harlem, Board Member
• President of the Eagles New York