Gordon Parks

1912-
Film Director, Photographer, Writer, Composer
Birthplace: Ft. Scott, KS


Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks excelled in many artistic fields, and he used his creative genius to influence the world around him. Parks attended a segregated elementary school and an integrated high school, although it maintained discriminatory policies toward black students. Parks is prolific in four fields – photography, writing, film making, and composing. He published 12 books, composed orchestral music and film scores, and wrote a ballet, Martin, about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was the first African-American photographer to work at Life and Vogue magazines, the Office of War Information, and the Farm Security Administration. Parks was also the first African American to write, direct, and produce a film for a major motion picture company. His film The Learning Tree was among the 25 films placed on the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1989.
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