Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks

Born Nov 30, 1912

For the Scottish sports journalist and former footballer, see Gordon Parks Gordon Parks File:Gordon Parks.

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Gordon Parks.


1912 Birth Parks was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, the son of Sarah (née Ross) and Jackson Parks, Nov. 30, 1912. … Read More


1929 16 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1929, he briefly worked in a gentlemen's club, the Minnesota Club. … Read More


1933 20 Years Old Parks was married and divorced three times. He married Sally Alvis in Minneapolis during 1933 and they divorced in 1961.
1940 27 Years Old She encouraged Parks to move to Chicago in 1940, where he began a portrait business and specialized in photographs of society women. … Read More
1941 28 Years Old Over the next few years, Parks moved from job to job, developing a freelance portrait and fashion photographer sideline. He began to chronicle the city's South Side black ghetto and, in 1941, an exhibition of those photographs won Parks a photography fellowship with the Farm Security Administration (FSA). … Read More


1948 35 Years Old A 1948 photographic essay on a young Harlem gang leader won Parks a staff job as a photographer and writer with America's leading photo-magazine, Life. … Read More
1950 37 Years Old An exhibition of photographs from a 1950 project Parks completed for Life was exhibited in 2015 at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. … Read More


1960 47 Years Old During his years with Life, Parks also wrote a few books on the subject of photography (particularly documentary photography), and in 1960 was named Photographer of the Year by the American Society of Magazine Photographers. … Read More
1962 49 Years Old He married Elizabeth Campbell in 1962 and they divorced in 1973. Parks first met Chinese-American editor Genevieve Young (stepdaughter of Chinese diplomat Wellington Koo) in 1962 when he began writing The Learning Tree. At that time, his publisher assigned her to be his editor. They became romantically involved at a time when they both were divorcing previous spouses, and married in 1973. They divorced in 1979.


1969 56 Years Old With his film adaptation of his autobiographical novel, The Learning Tree in 1969, Parks became Hollywood's first major black director. … Read More
1971 58 Years Old Shaft, a 1971 detective film directed by Parks and starring Richard Roundtree as John Shaft, became a major hit that spawned a series of films that would be labeled as, blaxploitation. … Read More
1972 59 Years Old Parks also directed the 1972 sequel, Shaft's Big Score, in which the protagonist finds himself caught in the middle of rival gangs of racketeers. … Read More


1976 - 1979 2 More Events
1989 76 Years Old …  In 1989, he composed and directed Martin, a ballet dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights leader who had been assassinated. … Read More
1990 77 Years Old It was screened on national television on King's birthday in 1990.
1991 78 Years Old In 1991, Wichita State University (WSU), in Wichita, the largest city in Parks' home state of Kansas, awarded Parks its highest honor for achievement: the President's Medal. … Read More
1995 82 Years Old The Library of Congress (LOC) reports that, in 1995, it "acquired Parks' personal collection, including papers, music, photographs, films, recordings, drawings and other products of his... career." … Read More
In 2000, as an homage, he had a cameo appearance in the Shaft sequel that starred Samuel L. Jackson in the title role as the namesake and nephew of the original John Shaft.
2006 93 Years Old Died on March 7, 2006.
Original Authors of this text are noted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Parks.
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