Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity was established in 2004. The Center focuses on the life and achievements of Fort Scott native son, Gordon Parks. His powerful story tells how he managed to escape poverty and bigotry by choosing the weapons given to him by "a mother who placed love, dignity and hard work over hatred."
Highlighting Parks' experience and similar personal stories from America's past and present, the Center spotlights the challenges of bigotry, racism, and discrimination - as well as the important dynamics of individuality, personal responsibility, persistence and hope.
The Gordon Parks Collection at Fort Scott Community College contains personal items and works of art which are in the process of being cataloged, stored and available for research, programs and events. At this time, the Gordon Parks Collection includes clippings, magazine articles, videotapes, and a photo collection donated by artist Patricia DuBose Duncan. It also includes 30 museum-quality photographs donated by Mr. Parks, memorabilia from his estate such as awards, honors, degrees, etc., and his writing desk where he wrote "A Choice of Weapons" and all of his other books thereafter. It is located in the Ft. Scott Community College Academic Building.
Contact: 800.874.3722, ext. 515; firstname.lastname@example.org
Open: The Gordon Parks Center is open Monday through Friday during the regular school year. It may also be opened on the weekend for special tours. Please call before you visit to make sure the Center is open, as it is closed from time to time for meetings, travel, etc.
The Gordon Parks exhibit begins in the main lobby and there are maps labeled "walking tour" that will guide you to the galleries along the halls and dinning area. The work progresses from Gordon Parks early work to his modern (almost science fictional) photography of the 1990s.
The Gordon Parks collection includes Parks black and white photographs from World War II and the western United States.
Contact: 620.223.7036; email@example.com
Open daily 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
GORDON PARKS BIOGRAPHY
He established his reputation as a world-renowned photojournalist for Life Magazine, chronicling the Civil Rights movement for two decades. His work for Vogue magazine established him as a master of fashion photography. A major retrospective exhibit of Parks's work, Half Past Autumn: The Art of Gordon Parks opened at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. in 1998 and toured the United States. HBO produced a documentary on Parks, also titled Half Past Autumn.
As a filmmaker, he was the first African-American to direct a major Hollywood production with the poignant memoir of his youth The Learning Tree, filmed on location in Fort Scott. He also broke new ground with a hip black hero on the silver screen named Shaft.
Parks received the National Medal of Arts in 1988 and has received over fifty honorary doctorates. His fifth autobiography and a new book of poetry were published in November of 2005. Mr. Parks died on March 7, 2006 and was laid to rest in Evergreen Cemetery in his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas on March 16, 2006.