Who is Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks?Gordon parks

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The previous thoughts were very strong.  I would add that Parks was one of the first post WWII thinkers to start actively advocating a black consciousness that was to permeate all levels of society.  His portraits were seen as social and political calls to end racism.  An example would be his American Gothic, Washington D.C., featuring Ella, a cleaning lady in Washington D.C., displaying her condition, one fraught with limitations and denials of opportunity under the United States flag.  His depiction of Shaft in the 1970s was a moment in both social and cinematic history as it sought to present a Black protagonist being one who possessed his own freedom and was not held in check by anyone or anything.  Given his own talents as artist, writer, filmmaker, photographer, and musical composer, Parks demonstrated that one of the most critical elements that defines all Americans is the presence and activation of one's freedom to define themselves in whichever manner they choose.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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GARBP is an artistIc photographer born in 1912 and commonly known as Gordon Parks. He was born a stillborn and was declared dead until the attending doctor insisted in placing him in a bucket of freezing water to start up his heart- which worked. It is the reason why his name,Gordon, came about- H was saved by a Dr. Gordon.

He had bouts of homelessness and lived in poverty. He became interested in photography in his early 20's when he bought a camera reportedly for $7.50 and began snapping still life, people, and recording life in the city slums (as  well as fashion trends) with his camera.

He became a self-taught freelancer and his talent became so defined that he became the first African American photographer in Vogue magazine and Life magazine. He is godfather to Malcom X's daughter, and was even Gloria Vanderbilt significant other at some point. He died in 2006 from cancer.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Gordon Parks was best known as a photographer, specializing mostly in pictures that documented black life.  However, he also became known as a movie director and producer.  He was the first African American to serve in a variety of positions related to these two professions.  For example, he was the first black person to be a staff photographer for Life magazine.

Parks also wrote poems and novels.  One of these, The Learning Tree, was made into a major Hollywood movie.  Parks became the first black person to direct or produce a major movie when he worked on that film.

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