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Gordon Parks: 100 Moments


July 12th, 2012 - December 1st, 2012


Gordon Parks: 100 Moments celebrates a photographer who transformed the visual story of America with his ever-questioning lens, highlighting—in particular—the significance of Parks’s photographs from the early 1940s. 100 Moments focuses on Parks’s photographic practice of documenting African Americans in Harlem and Washington, D.C., during a pivotal time in U.S. history. These photographs were taken when both cities were going through significant changes—arising from post-WW II urban migration, the expansion of the black press, concern for children’s education, and entrenched segregation and economic discrimination.

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is honored to celebrate the important legacy of Gordon Parks, by including several works from its Photographs and Prints Division in this show. And it has been our great privilege to collaborate on this project with guest curator Deborah Willis, Professor of Photography and Imaging and Africana Studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Schomburg Center Resources for Gordon Parks: 100 Moments Exhibition

Image: Gordon Parks in his New York apartment, 1991; photograph by Claire Yaffa. Courtesy of the photographer.

Gordon Parks materials in the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division


The Weapons of Gordon Parks (1966) 29 min/Warren Forma (motion picture film)
Summary: An inspiring study of Gordon Parks, Life photographer, told in his own words, about his pictures and his music. Parks summarizes the film: "My mother had freed me from the curse of inferiority long before she died by not allowing me to take refuge in excuses that I had been born black... when I think back to my years as a Pullman car waiter, flophouse porter, piano player, in a hotel at sixteen... I know what I think I don't want for my children or their children... I can only hope that the weapons they choose will be tempered with love instead of hatred."

Gordon Parks presentation to the Schomburg Center (1984), clips (videotape)
Program note: Gordon Parks makes a brief statement and reads the last chapter from his book A Choice of Weapons. He presents this book and 10 selected photographs from Life Magazine to the Schomburg Center.
Charles Woodingham, publisher, Life magazine, introduces Mr. Parks.  
Venue: Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, 1/12/1984.

Camera 8 Excerpt, Gordon Parks: A Personal Retrospective (1984) 22 min/KUHT-TV (videotape)
Summary: An interview with photographer and film director, Gordon Parks who talks about his career and the subjects depicted in some of his films.

Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theatre presents the Second Annual Renaissance Awards Gala(1993), clips (videotape)
Gordon Parks is the “Renaissance Award" recipient.
Program note: Includes a special live performance of a dance excerpt from Martin, a film by Gordon Parks.
Choreography by Rael Lamb; performed by Lowell Smith and Sheila Rohan with Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theatre.
Venue: Langston Hughes Auditorium, 5/13/1993.

Black New York Photographers of the 20th Century (1999) 8 mins (videotape) 
Program note:  Brief interviews conducted by James Briggs Murray with photographers as part of Exhibition opening. See tape 2 of 3 for Gordon Parks interview, lasts about 8 minutes.
Venue: Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, 5/18/1999.
Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks, HBO Original Films
Note: On order


Interview with Gordon Parks (audiotape)
Part of the Schomburg Center Oral History Tape Collection/1966/ca. 9 min
Summary: In this short interview, Parks talks about growing up in Kansas, his aspirations, career, and feelings about being Black.

A Choice of Weapons: Readings by Gordon Parks from his Book (audiotape)
Scholastic Records/1970/112 min
Contents: Cold winter -- The Minnesota club -- Chicago flophouse -- No love -- Harlem -- Sally's coat -- First camera -- First assignment -- Slum photographer -- The prize -- Washington D.C. -- Back of the bus -- Coming to terms.

WNET-TV Program – Black Film (audiotape)
Summary: Julius Lester speaks with Ossie Davis, Gordon Parks, and Melvin Van Peebles about black film.
Note: from the Hatch-Billops Collection, 2/6/1972, ca. 60 min.