March 7: Filmmaker Gordon Parks Passed Away On This Date in 2006

0 Posted by - March 7, 2022 - BLACK ART & LITERATURE, On This Date

By Victor Trammell

Photo credits: HBO/The Gordon Parks Foundation

Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks was a photographer, musician, writer, and film director who rose to prominence in documentary photography from the 1940s to the 1970s. He was born in Fort Scott, Kansas in 1912.

Parks was also a novelist, poet, and composer, among other things. Photographs by Gordon Parks covered a wide range of topics over the course of more than two decades. These included fashion and sports photography, as well as photos of Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Muhammad Ali, and Barbra Streisand among other celebrities.

A pioneer in the film industry, Gordon Parks was the first African-American to produce and direct significant motion movies, generating films that depicted the experiences of slaves and disadvantaged Black Americans, as well as helping to establish the “blaxploitation” genre. The film “Shaft,” directed by Gordon Parks and starring Richard Roundtree, was released in theaters in the summer of 1971.

Aside from that, Parks was a founding member of Essence magazine, where he served as its editor-in-chief for the first three years the magazine was in print. He died of liver cancer in 2006, at the age of 93 in New York City, New York.


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