PERFECTION OF PERPLEXION

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Posted in boys, photos by okkame on October 11, 2010

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006), Black Muslim Rally, New York, 1963, printed 2003, Gelatin silver print; 16 x 20, Lent by The Capital Group Foundation, 2002.09 © 2006 The Gordon Parks Foundation.

 

 

When Parks was 15 years old, as said in his book A Hungry Heart, his mother died. Soon after her death his father sent him to live with his married sister in St. Paul, Minnesota. He and his brother-in-law did not get along; he only lived there for a few weeks until he got in a fight with his brother-in-law, getting him evicted. He was forced to sleep in trolley cars, loiter in pool halls, and play piano in a brothel. Parks also worked as a factotum in a whites-only club and as a waiter on a luxury train.

Parks later commented: “I had a mother who would not allow me to complain about not accomplishing something because I was black. Her attitude was, ‘If a white boy can do it, then you can do it, too — and do it better, or don’t come home.’”

 

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