African American artist (1912-2006)
Gordon Parks (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) was an American photographer, musician, writer and film director.
- … I think maybe the rural influence in my life helped me in a sense, of knowing how to get close to people and talk to them and get my work done. That might have helped some...to try and get to know people and get to know all kinds of people better and investigate their ills and their prejudices and their goods and their evil…
- On how his upbringing helped his photographic efforts in “Oral history interview with Gordon Parks, 1964 Dec. 30” (Smithsonian Archive of the Arts)
- That disadvantage sometimes pushes you, you know, if you use it right, because you want to rid yourself of those things that hurt you emotionally when you're coming up.
- On his childhood in “How self-taught photographer Gordon Parks became a master storyteller” in PBS NEWSHOUR (2019 Feb 1)
- I think that the film being made there did an awful lot to dispel that. For the first time there – well, for the first time in the United States – there was a black man riding in that big crane, and he was the boss of a mostly white crew, about 200 people. They looked at this at first in utter amazement and eventually they were proud of me, because I was a local boy. It was very prideful for the Negro kids.
- On filming “The Learning Tree” in his neighborhood in “Gordon Parks, pioneering black film director – archive” in The Guardian (2016 Sep 22)
- The boys of my gang – there were six or seven of us – none of them lived to be men, to be 21 years old, except one. All of them are dead from some violence or other, shot or cut to death before they were men, by white society…
- On his childhood friends in “Gordon Parks, pioneering black film director – archive” in The Guardian (2016 Sep 22)
- No wonder you get a Rapp Brown, no wonder you get a Le Roi Jones, no wonder you get a Stokely Carmichael. But you can’t really compare these kids with me, because my time was beyond their time. Black studies, the identification with Africa emerging, has instilled a lot of pride in black kids. But the black kids on the campuses are suddenly asking for separate classes and segregated dormitories. I’ve said to them, ‘Black people have fought and died that you might be here. These white kids will be the next leaders, and will reshape your lives for the next 200 years unless you get in the classrooms with them and help’.
- On Black college students in 1969 in “Gordon Parks, pioneering black film director – archive” in The Guardian (2016 Sep 22)