His white teacher tells her all-black class, You’ll all wind up porters and waiters. What did she know? Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was a poor African American looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever. He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed. His success as a fashion photographer landed him a job working for the government. In Washington DC, Gordon went looking for a subject, but what he found was segregation. He and others were treated differently because of the color of their skin. Gordon wanted to take a stand against the racism he observed. With his camera in hand, he found a way. Told through lyrical verse and atmospheric art, this is the story of how, with a single photograph, a self-taught artist got America to take notice.
About the Author
Carole Boston Weatherford is the author of several acclaimed poetry collections and poetic biographies, including Sugar Hill and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, winner of a Caldecott Honor, the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, and the NAACP Image Award. She teaches at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.
Jamey Christoph studied illustration at the Ringling College of Art and Design. His illustrations have appeared in a variety of major publications and in several award-winning children’s books. He has also received multiple recognitions from the Society of Illustrators and Communication Arts. He works out of his home in Maryland and loves a sunny day on the Eastern Shore with his two crazy dogs, Spencer and Owen.
Read an Excerpt
How the Photographer Captured Black and White America
By Carole Boston Weatherford, Jamey Christoph
ALBERT WHITMAN & CompanyCopyright © 2015 Carole Boston Weatherford
All rights reserved.
The youngest of fifteen, Parks arrives stillborn and is nearly left for dead until a dip in ice water shocks his tiny heart to beat. The baby is named for the man who saved his life, Dr. Gordon.
When young Gordon crosses the prairie on horseback, nothing seems beyond reach.
But his white teacher tells her all-black class, You'll all wind up porters and waiters.
What did she know?
After Gordon loses his mother at age fourteen, he moves in with his sister in Minneapolis.
Soon on his own, Gordon works odd jobs: busboy, piano player, and finally porter and waiter.
Twenty-five years old and all but broke when a magazine spread about migrant farm workers inspires him to buy a used camera. That $7.50 is the best money he will ever spend.
In one month he teaches himself enough for an exhibit at a camera store.
Soon, he is shooting fashion and portraits. One model tells him to take his camera to the big city.
Excerpted from Gordon Parks by Carole Boston Weatherford, Jamey Christoph. Copyright © 2015 Carole Boston Weatherford. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
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