Gordon Parks (1912 – 2006)


Gordon Parks, the photographer, filmmaker, writer and composer who used his prodigious, largely self-taught talents to chronicle the African-American experience and to retell his own personal history, died yesterday at his home in Manhattan. He was 93. . . .

“I’m in a sense sort of a rare bird,” Mr. Parks said in an interview in The New York Times in 1997. “I suppose a lot of it depended on my determination not to let discrimination stop me.” He never forgot that one of his teachers told her students not to waste their parents’ money on college because they would end up as porters or maids anyway. He dedicated one honorary degree to her because he had been so eager to prove her wrong.

“I had a great sense of curiosity and a great sense of just wanting to achieve,” he said. “I just forgot I was black and walked in and asked for a job and tried to be prepared for what I was asking for.”

more from the New York Times here.