Monday, November 30, 2009

Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks (born November 30, 1912) was an innovative African American. Best remembered for his Life magazine photo essays, journalist/activist, part-time musician and an early contributor to the Blaxploitation genre ( thus the first African American to write, direct and score a Hollywood film.

Read On:
Personally, Gordon Parks was one of my favorite 20th century photographers. I remember reading that he was asked to join the Black Panthers back in the 60’s. He refused and stated that he was not going to join a political group, but would make his political statements through the lens of his camera. I was saddened when he passed away in March of 2006. I read his obituary in the New York Times – what a life! The obituary also detailed his four secrets of being an authentic Renaissance Man. Sound advice for future leaders:

· Work Hard

· Challenge Conventional Wisdom

· Create

· Persevere

For you film trivia buffs, the original Shaft was the movie he directed.


  1. interesting advice he left on...

  2. I'm going to guess part of his wisdom is generational given when he was born. My Dad was of the WWII era and also believed in working hard and perseverence. Challenging conventions is what I enjoy most.

    Sadly, as a college professor, the working hard part seems to be something the current generation was NOT taught. They seem to prefer things that come easy and forget one has to pay their dues before they can earn respect.