Gordon R. Parks was born Nov. 30, 1912, in Fort Scott, Kansas. He was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director. He become very prominent in U.S. documentary photojournalism in the 1940’s through the 1970’s. His main focus was in issues of civil rights, poverty and African-Americans – and in glamour photography.
Parks being the first famous pioneer among black filmmakers, he was the first African American to produce and direct major motion pictures. These films were that of which related to the experience of slaves and struggling black Americans.
The images above was taken in 1956 in Mobile, Alabama. Parks captured these image to show views of a segregated south.
Department Store, Mobile, Alabama, 1956.
The photo of the poised young woman and little girl was taken outside the Saenger Theatre in Mobile. Though it wasn’t published by LIFE, it was one of Gordon’s most iconic civil rights images. Joanne Wilson, the woman in the photo, became a high school government and economics teacher.
Parks was married and divorced three times. Father of four children, five grandchildren. Malcolm X honored Parks when he asked him to be the godfather of his daughter Qubilah Shabazz. Parks died at the age of 93 years old due to cancer on March 7, 2006, while living in Manhattan, New York. He was buried back in his hometown Fort Scott, Kansas.
I choose Gordon Parks because he was a great asset to our history. His images captures the true struggle of African Americans during the civil rights movement. He I believe he wanted to take photos that would speak volume to those in generations to come, to always remember the past and what it took to get where we are today.