As a historian, preservationist and community leader, Arva Moore Parks has spent her adult life helping Miami’s diverse communities come together through a shared sense of place. She has been a freelance research historian since 1970, and her company, Arva Parks & Co., has been in the business of providing building construction and restoration services since 1986.
Throughout her distinguished career, Ms. Parks has accrued a variety of related professional experiences, including chief curator of the Coral Gables Museum, adjunct professor and graduate assistant at the University of Miami, and teacher at several high schools. She has also been the president of Centennial Press since 1991. To prepare for her endeavors, Ms. Parks attended Florida State University from 1956 to 1958, and received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Florida in 1960, a Master of Arts in history from the University of Miami in 1971, and an honorary LLD from Barry University in Miami in 1996.
Driven by her desire to be active with her peers, Ms. Parks has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the Governor’s Mansion Commission from 1979 to 1983 and the National Trust for Historic Preservation from 1984 to 1993. She has also been involved with the Federal Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, the Miami Planning Advisory Board, the Florida International Women’s Forum, the Louis Wolfson Media History Center, and the Pennsylvania Trust for Historic Preservation. Notably, Ms. Parks was one of the first four women to be on the Orange Bowl Committee, which led her to be an early female member of the University of Miami Board of Trustees. Currently, she maintains affiliation with the Dade Heritage Trust, the University of Florida St. Augustine Board, and the City of Coral Gables Museum Board.
With such an extensive background, Ms. Parks was constantly looking for new ways to share her knowledge and passions. She co-authored “George Merrick: Son of the South Wind, Visionary Creator of Coral Gables” in 2015, “Miami – A Sense of Place” in 2014, and “Legendary Locals,” in 2013, among a variety of others. Ms. Parks also penned “Harry Truman and the Little White House in Key West” in 1991, with a revised edition released in 2012, and “Miami the Magic City” in 1991, with a revised edition released in 2008. From 1976 to 1995, she lent her talents to her position as the associate editor of “Tequesta.” Further, she wrote a number of films, including “Coconut Grove,” “Ours is a Tropic Land,” “Storm and Sunshine,” “Our Miami: The Magic City” and “One United Band: The Miami Edison Story.”
Ms. Park’s leadership in the arena of racial, gender, and ethnic relations has brought her many honors and awards. Several of her more recent accolades include Historian of the Year by the Miami Woman’s Club, the Historic President Carl Weinhard Lifetime Achievement Award, the George Merrick Spirit of Excellence Award from the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, and the Julia Tuttle Award from the Commission on the Status of Women in the City of Miami, as well as recognition as the Carolina O. Rossetter Outstanding Woman in Florida History from the Florida Historical Society. Additionally, she received awards from The Black Archives and Research Foundation of Southern Florida, the Museum of Science, and the Association for Women in Communications.