Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America

by Carole Boston Weatherford and Jamey Christoph

When he was a child, Gordon Parks’s all-Black class was told by their white... read more

When he was a child, Gordon Parks’s all-Black class was told by their white teacher: “'You’ll all wind up porters and waiters.’ What did she know?” Gordon worked odd jobs as a teenager and young man—including porter and waiter. But he bought a used camera when he was 25 and soon was a taking pictures for a living. He knew “there are enough photos of white men carved in marble and granite” and began to document the life of Ella Watson, the Black cleaning lady in his Washington, D.C., office building. He went on to become the first Black photographer for publications like Vogue and Life, and write poetry and music, but a photo of Ella, titled “American Gothic,” is his most famous image. A notable, arresting narrative is set against sepia-toned illustrations that convey the differing worlds Parks moved through and documented. An essay with several of Parks’s photographs are included at volume’s end. (Ages 7–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2016

show less