Kermit A. Parker was the first African American in Louisiana history to become a candidate in the Democratic nomination for governor. At the time, Parker worked as a pharmacist in New Orleans. Parker was also a reform school administrator.
Parker was a graduate of Xavier University and was forty years old at the time of his candidacy. He made the decision to run for governor after observing injustices in schools, the previously all-white Democratic primary, and incidents of police brutality against blacks.
Black organizations stepped up and offered their endorsements and support to Parker, but he refused to accept, preferring to run on his own merits.