A native New Yorker, Richard Parnell Habersham was born and raised in Harlem. When he was a toddler, he was a frequent guest of Mother Hale at the Hale House 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
In the aftermath of 9/11 and 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 to speculators at way below market value, he decided to work with these homeowners to achieve the best possible price.
In 2008 Richard graduated with a master’s degree from Columbia University's School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. And, newly married, he welcomed his first child Richard Parnell Habersham III. Unfortunately these happy milestones came at the time of the Great Recession, and Richard learned firsthand the reality of the affordable housing crisis when he and his family were evicted from their apartment.
Like so many, the need to step up and take care of an elderly parent adversely affected Richard and his family. 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 round the clock care. So Richard and his family moved in and ministered to the stricken father until, several years later, he died.
During this time Richard switched his focus from real estate. 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. (Also a widely published author, Wareham’s works include, How to Break Out of Prison, and, with support from New York State and Poets and Writers, Inc., How to Survive a Bullet to the Heart. ) Richard co-presented the Taking Wings program at Downstate Correctional Facility. He also flew to New Zealand with John Wareham, where they jointly facilitated a highly successful Taking Wings weekend retreat at the sacred Maori Otatara Pa for the local gangs responsible for eighty percent of local crime.
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At A Glance
For Congress NY 13 district
Richard Parnell Habersham II
From learning some tough lessons on the streets of Harlem to teaching at state prisons. Richard has always been able to take experiences that he lived through in this district and communicate those experiences to a wider audience. When Richard goes to Washington he will communicate to the entire nation what this districts problems are and make sure that he builds the right coalitions to solve them.
Richard also has worked on public policy issues including rallying support for Mayoral Control of the School, which set the stage for the city’s groundbreaking Universal Pre-K program. Richard currently serves on the board of the Classical Theater of Harlem.
Columbia University's 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