, age 64 , was born in poverty in South Philadelphia , and by stint of hard work , determination and exceptional talent became a well-to-do businessman , fiduciary and American success story.A self-described longtime movement conservative , Parker
took conservative Republican Bob Taft as an idol early in life.In the 1960s and early 1970s , he
estimates , he
spoke on more than 400 college campuses across the country for the Young Americans for Freedom and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute
.He's been mentor to such younger black conservatives as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and presidential candidate Alan Keyes.Parker founded the Lincoln Institute for Research and Education back in 1978 and serves as its president
.He's also editor of its quarterly journal , Lincoln Review , and its newsletter , Lincoln Review Letter
.In keeping with his
faith in private solutions for society's problems , he
has helped to lead an extraordinary variety of Washington-area charitable groups including the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind , Goodwill Industries and the Salvation Army , to name only a few.A well-read , energetic man with a phenomenal memory , Parker's
60th birthday was celebrated in a surprise party at the Supreme Court sponsored by Justice and Mrs. Clarence Thomas.
: I'm exactly what I was when I was 9 years old.My notions were formed by then about my individuality and my independence and my self-reliance.And they were formed , if you will , because by the time I was 9 I had four brothers and sisters and two more would come along.I haven't changed.I'm still the individualist that I was back then.So I have no conversion story to tell.