In 1948 Gordon Parks (1912-2006) became the first African American photographer to be hired by Life magazine. Two years later he was approached by his editors to do a feature story on the topic of segregated education, a corrosive issue that had recently become the subject of national debate, especially in his home state of Kansas. With this assignment he chose to focus on school segregation as seen through the lens of his own childhood. So it was that Parks set out to track down eleven of his elementary school classmates—the entire class of 1927—from the all-black Plaza School that they had attended as children. More than forty of the rare and little-known photographs made for this assignment comprise the exhibition, Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott, organized in conjunction with The Gordon Parks Foundation. Join Karen Haas, Lane Curator of Photographs, Peter Kunhardt, director of the Foundation, and Genevieve Young, the artist’s third wife, for a viewing of the show and informal conversation centered on the many facets of Gordon Parks, the world-traveled photojournalist and son of a poor black tenant farmer from Kansas.
This is a private event for Friends of Photography members.
Gordon Parks, Husband and Wife, Sunday Morning, Detroit, Michigan, 1950, Gelatin silver print. Courtesy and © The Gordon Parks Foundation