not but nothing other: African-American Portrayals, 1930s to Today

Gordon Parks (1912-2006)
I AM YOU, 1947-1967, (published 2017)

These images are featured in the exhibition, “not but nothing other: African American Portrayals, 1930s to Today." Scroll through the images and hover over the highlighted rectangles for more information and links to related content.

Gordon Parks's photographs chronicle the daily lives and collective struggles of African Americans in the third quarter of the twentieth century. He captured everyday moments, public personalities and large scale events that made up struggles against poverty, marginalization and injustice. The I AM YOU portfolio, published posthumously by the Gordon Parks Foundation, contains selected photographs shot over the course of twenty years, from the immediate postwar era to the rise of Black Power. We see children playing on the streets of Harlem; the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering his "I Have a Dream" speech; Malcolm X at a Nation of Islam rally in New York; and activists on the streets of Los Angeles.

The portraits he took of people protesting—of Martin, Malcolm, Rosa Parks, and others—capture Parks's preference for photographing in the moment. He often favored a tightly cropped scene to highlight the dramatic instant being lived by his subjects.

Click here to hear Sharon Ball talk about this work.

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