The Lost Photos of Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks was an iconic Photographer of our times. A man whose courageous photography helped awaken America at the dawn of the Civil Rights era. Gordon Parks was Life magazine’s first Black photographer, and he saw his camera as a weapon. In September 1956, Life published 26 of Parks’ photographs from an assignment in Alabama on segregation. The bulk of Parks’ work from that assignment was thought to have been lost until a few years ago, when archivists for the Gordon Parks Foundation came upon a box containing more than 200 color slides. Many of these photographs, which had never been seen before, are now on exhibition at the High Museum in Atlanta and at the Foundation’s new headquarters in Pleasantville, New York.

The photographs, which show life as it was happening in the segregated South, include images of children peering through a fence at a forbidden playground and a woman and child outside an Alabama movie theater. Gordon Parks’ work is an important record of this significant time in American history.

Parks was also the first African American to direct a major Hollywood film, “The Learning Tree,” which was based on his own semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. He went on to direct several other films, including “Shaft” and “Leadbelly,” and continued to work as a photographer throughout his career.

Parks was a pioneer in the field of documentary photography and is widely recognized as one of the most important photographers of the 20th century. He died in 2006 at the age of 93.

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