London

Gordon Parks, Untitled, Alabama, 1956, pigment print, 20 × 24". From the series “Segregation in the South,” 1956. Courtesy of The Gordon Parks Foundation, New York and Alison Jacques Gallery, London. © The Gordon Parks Foundation.

Gordon Parks, Untitled, Alabama, 1956, pigment print, 20 × 24". From the series “Segregation in the South,” 1956. Courtesy of The Gordon Parks Foundation, New York and Alison Jacques Gallery, London. © The Gordon Parks Foundation.

Gordon Parks

Alison Jacques Gallery

Gordon Parks (1912–2006) made an indelible mark on American life. It marked him, too. Born into a poor Black family in segregated Kansas, Parks saw the brutality of racial strife early on: He almost drowned, at age eleven, after a group of white boys threw him into a river. Pinballing through various jobs in flophouses and brothels, he bought his first camera at the age of twenty-five. His 1948 documentary photos of a Harlem gang war for Life magazine made him a household name; later he pioneered the blaxploitation movie genre by directing Shaft (1971). This first installment of a two-part show tracked the case Parks made for American culture as Black culture, telling open secrets about lives rendered both highly visible and unseen.

In “Segregation in the South,” 1956, the first of two series featured in the show, Parks chronicled the racially divided Deep South. We see a family dressed in

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