Paul Parks

Paul Parks (May 7, 1923 – August 1, 2009) was an Americancivil engineer. Parks became the first African AmericanSecretary of Education for Massachusetts, and was appointed by Governor Michael Dukakis to serve from 1975 until 1979. Mayor Raymond Flynn appointed Parks to the Boston School Committee, where he was also the first African American.

American civil engineer
Paul Parks
Massachusetts Secretary of Education
In office
1975–1979
Governor Michael Dukakis
Preceded by Joseph M. Cronin
Succeeded by Position abolished
Personal details
Born (1923-05-07)May 7, 1923
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Died August 1, 2009(2009-08-01) (aged 86)
Mattapan, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Dorothy Alexander (m. 1947)
Virginia Loftman (1972-2009)
Children 3
Parent(s) Cleab (father)
Hazel (mother)
Alma mater Purdue University
Northeastern University
Occupation Civil engineer
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service  United States Army
Years of service 1943-1945
Rank Combat Engineer
Unit 365th Quartermaster Corps

Parks fought as a combat engineer for the U.S. Military and took part in the Normandy landings on Omaha Beach.[1][2] Following his service in World War II, Parks was renowned for his work and dedication to desegregating Boston public schools through his role in the execution of the Boston Model City program, a program designed to use federal funding to develop selected areas in Boston and achieve economic stability.[3] Parks was also a member of the Massachusetts State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, in which he was involved in the development of METCO, a program dedicated to resolving segregation in Boston public schools through desegregated busing and increased enrollment of black students in predominantly white schools.[4]

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Parks’s father, Cleab, was a disabled World War I veteran of Seminole descent.[5] His mother, Hazel, was a social worker.[6][7] Parks grew up in Indianapolis, which was characterized by its segregated education system at the time. He attended Crispus Attucks High School, an all-black institution in Indianapolis.[5] Parks was awarded a $4,000 scholarship for winning an oratory contest in high school, and this monetary prize contributed to his college education when he enrolled at Purdue University in 1941.[7] He was a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.[8] Before completing his Bachelor of Science in civil engineering, his education was interrupted in 1942 when he was drafted to fight in World War II as a combat engineer. Afforded by the benefits of the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act, he resumed formal education at Purdue to complete his civil engineering degree, and he later earned a doctorate in engineering from Northeastern University after moving to Boston.[6][7]

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. . . Paul Parks . . .