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Parks, Gordon (1912–2006)

learning award tree photographer

PARKS, GORDON (1912–2006). Photographer, director, novelist, composer. Gordon Parks was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, and attended high school in St. Paul, Minnesota. After becoming interested in photography, he moved to Chicago in 1937 and was involved with the South Side Community Art Center. A one-man exhibit of his photographs earned him a prestigious Rosenwald Fellowship. Parks accepted an assignment with the Overseas Division of the Office of War Information, and after World War II, he became a staff photographer for Life magazine. He has garnered many awards for his work, including Magazine Photographer of the Year in 1961, the Newhouse Award from Syracuse University, and a Springarn Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1972. As an award-winning writer, Parks has written several novels, including his autobiographically based books The Learning Tree and A Choice of Weapons . In 1968, he became the first African American director ever to helm a feature-length film for a major Hollywood studio with the film version of The Learning Tree . He also produced, and wrote the screenplay and the original music score. Parks produced and directed documentaries and feature films Shaft , 1971, and Leadbelly , 1976, based on the life of blues singer and composer Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter.

Filmography: The Learning Tree , 1969; Shaft , 1971; Shaft’s Big Score , 1972; Leadbelly , 1976; Half Slave, Half Free , 1985.

Parks, H. G.(1916–1989) - Entrepreneur, business executive, Gains Needed Marketing Experience, Chronology, Launches H. G. Parks Inc. [next] [back] Parks, Gordon

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