Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Remembering Gordon Parks
I just heard the news that Gordon Parks has died. My mom saw him several times this past week, and she warned me yesterday that he was near the end of his life. Still, the news came as a shock. I just wanted to write in and say a few words about a man whose life was truly remarkable and deserves to be celebrated and honored for years to come.

If you don't know who Gordon Parks is, or even if you think you know about him, chances are you only know one part of his story. Gordon Parks lived more lives and had more talents than anyone else I've ever met. He was a photographer, a writer, a poet, a film director, not to mention a father, a husband, and a friend.

Gordon gave so much to this world, even though this world initially didn't give him much of anything. He was born in Kansas to a family that was dirt poor. He was the first African-American photographer for Life Magazine, and later, the first African-American to direct a film for a major Hollywood studio.

My mom became friends with Gordon Parks in the mid 1950s. He was a photographer for Life back then and had come to take her picture. I don't think two people could have come from more different backgrounds, but my mom and Gordon became very close friends -- a friendship they maintained and protected throughout the rest of their lives.

Most kids don't pay much attention to their parents' friends, but when Gordon Parks came to stay at our house on weekends during the summer, my brother and I made sure we would be around. I knew Gordon was cool, long before I even knew what the word cool meant. Memory plays tricks over time, and I can't recall if Gordon drove a Jaguar or a Porsche, but I remember it was the most beautiful sports car I'd ever seen. He told me he'd give it to me when he died. Later, he admitted he said that to just about everyone who inquired about the car.

As a kid, I didn't really know much about Gordon's career. I knew he'd written books and took photographs. It was only as a teenager that I actually saw his remarkable work and came to appreciate the full scope of his talent.

We live in an age of quick celebrity, where people become famous for not really doing much of anything. Gordon Parks earned everything he ever got. He made countless contributions to art and politics, and through his work and his life was an important agent of social change. I feel very lucky to have known him even a little bit.

It's strange. I didn't know Gordon was ill, and just last week dropped off at my mom's house a belated birthday present for her. It's a photo of Gordon and her taken a few years ago in her apartment in New York. It was taken for a series on race The New York Times was doing.

In the photo, my mom and Gordon are sitting in her living room, holding each other. There is something so tender about it. These two old friends, both of whom knew the pain of losing a child, both of whom had seen so many good times and bad. There they were after all these years. Friends. Survivors. Together. Holding onto one another.

Gordon Parks has died. He is gone. Thankfully, his work, his art, his example -- those are things all of us still have to hold onto.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 9:06 PM ET
  70 Comments
Gordon Parks mattered. He made a difference. When I come to die, I hope the same can be said of my life.
Posted By Anonymous Daniel, Lousville, KY : 9:31 PM ET
Dear Anderson,
I'm deeply so saddened by the loss of Gordon Parks. Its good to know he was friend of your family. My condolence to you and your mother for the loss of such a close friend, and to Mr Parks family. May God rest his soul in Peace. I will find his book and read.
Posted By Anonymous Subira Pontiac MI : 9:31 PM ET
Thanks for remembering Gordon Parks, an extraordinary man. In Kansas City, we have honored him by naming one of our elementary schools after him--in recognition for his constant seeking, and his influence on those who seek--knowledge, humanity, equality, creativity.
Posted By Anonymous Teresa Woody Kansas City, MO : 9:33 PM ET
That's a very sweet rememberance of Gordon Parks. Not enough people know of him or his accomplishments. He was also a very beautiful man - damn good looking.
Posted By Anonymous Lima, Los Angeles, CA : 9:42 PM ET
You have painted a beautiful picture of someone who must have been a wonderful man. I did not know Gordon - indeed, the name meant nothing to me before tonight - but nonetheless your words have piqued my curiosity and before the night is over I will know more about him.
Posted By Anonymous C.K. Leverett, Eatontown, New Jersey : 9:46 PM ET
Thank you for acknowledging one of the greatest American inspirations that ever lived.
Posted By Anonymous A. Allen, Washington D.C. : 9:47 PM ET
How terrible for your Mom! She described her friendship with Mr. Parks so tenderly in her book. I hope you are there to comfort her. Could you showcase Parks' photography on AC360 sometime? Be well.
Posted By Anonymous Jen, Raleigh NC : 9:51 PM ET
Sad, but true, AC, I don't think I've ever heard of Gordon Parks. I hope his family is at peace. He sounds like a wonderful person.
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Chicago, Il : 9:55 PM ET
I didn't really understand who Mr. Parks was until I saw his retrospecitve, Half Past Autumn, in Los Angeles and then in Oakland some years ago. He completely captured images that surrounded me while growing up. I will always remember the contributions Mr. Parks made to this country.
Posted By Anonymous Elizabeth R., Richmond, CA : 9:57 PM ET
As a photographer, I have been a great admirer of his work for many years. Very saddened by this incredible loss and very much wondering why it didn't hold a bigger headline on the website. He was important for so many reasons and he has left an indelible impact on not only his industry(ies), but also this world. How lucky, Anderson, you are to have even had a glimpse into his life...
Posted By Anonymous Melissa - Atlanta, GA : 10:00 PM ET
Gordon Parks was an amazingly gifted man; thank you for paying tribute and giving recognition to this great American figure. He will be missed.
Posted By Anonymous Fay, California : 10:06 PM ET
I have long admired the works of Gordon Parks. As a African-American, I feel that he was one of the drum majors for equal/fair treatments of African-Americans long after the Civil Rights Era has waned. His pictures vividly reminded America to not forget. I extend my sincere condolences to his family, friends and collegues. His genius will be missed and is irreplaceable. Gone but not forgotten and I hope you to REST IN PEACE Mr. Gordon Parks, Sr.
Posted By Anonymous John-Martin Branson - Forrest City, AR : 10:06 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
What a beautiful tribute to a friend..Especially today after hearing about Dana Reeves then reading your post I am reminded of that line from the Wizard of Oz..When the tin man is told,"A heart is not judged by how much you love but by how much you are loved by others." Obviously, your friend was loved...Take Care BYE
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton,Calif. : 10:08 PM ET
Gordon Parks - a truly remarkable, talented, trailblazer, barrier-breaker, classy African-American man. May his soul rest in pepertual peace.
Beautiful write up, Anderson Cooper! Bravo!

J. Kwame Debra, Burtonsville, MD.
Posted By Anonymous Kwame Debra, Burtonsville, MD. : 10:27 PM ET
I was thinking about Gordon Parks this weekend, and his son, Gordon Parks, Jr, and the impact that they had on on the cinema. Black audiences were largely ignored until Shaft (1971) and Superfly (1972). Shaft was a watershed, a pivotal point in the formation of the African American Male archetype. The opening scene where Shaft is walking in the streets of New York City, with Isaac Hayes brilliant Oscar winning song scoring the background was permanently replayed in the collective unconscious minds of every African American man from that moment on. It was a moment of truth. It was real. Gordon Parks kept it real.
Posted By Anonymous Darryl L. Townes, Ph.D., Atlanta, Ga : 10:28 PM ET
Anderson, thank you so much for the words that you have written about Gordon Parks. I came across some of his work when cleaning out my mother's attic and found some photographs he had taken while at Life magazine. I followed his work after that and I was totally stunned then and still am at how he could depict the very essence of whatever he was photographing and almost tell a story with it. Your mom truly had a good friend, as all of us have had who truly admired his work and his courage.
Posted By Anonymous Marian, New London, MO : 10:41 PM ET
I'd ne'er heard of Gordon Parks until today, and I thought I knew a lot about film makers. I read his obituary and then this entry. Was fascinated.
Posted By Anonymous Ven Srin, Santa Clara, CA : 10:42 PM ET
Thanks to you, I know who he is now.
Posted By Anonymous Jenn- Denver, Colorado : 10:42 PM ET
My condolences to your family, and Mr. Parks family. It is wonderful that he has left a great legacy and made a difference in his lifetime. If only we would all do that, what a world this would be.
Posted By Anonymous Barbara, Montreal,QC : 10:45 PM ET
Anderson,

My heartfelt condolences to you and your Mom. Your remembrance of Gordon Parks was very moving. It doesn't seem to matter whether a death is unexpected or you are forwarned that the time is near, it is still a great shock, a great sadness, and for a time seemingly unbelievable. I didn't know of Gordon Parks until I heard of his death on the news, but after reading your blog it's apparent he was a very talented accomplished man, but best of all, he sounds like a very sweet man.

You mentioned you and your brother made sure you hung around when he visited. I think that's very telling; kids, I think, have an acute sense as to whether people are good or not and the fact that he paid attention to you shows what a special person he was. Many adults don't pay attention to kids, their own or others.

May God help you and your Mom through your sadness and I hope you both cherish the good memories you have of Gordon and that they give you comfort.
Posted By Anonymous Christina, Windber, PA : 10:46 PM ET
I had no idea that Gordon Parks had passed away until I read your post a minute ago. As a photography student, I had a rudimentary, though not complete, knowledge of his work. How wonderful it is that you have vividly depicted not only an amazing artist, but an amazing man.
Posted By Anonymous Lola, New York, NY : 10:52 PM ET
As someone who appreciates individuals who worked to make a difference in life like Mr. Parks, I am sad to hear of his death. It's certainly been a tragic few days.

Please give my sympathies to your mother, this has got to be very hard for her. Take care, Anderson.
Posted By Anonymous Courtney, Chagrin Falls, OH : 10:52 PM ET
Gordon Parks was a very underappreciated creative talent who's arts and inspirations should be included in our history along with the other genuises and innovators of our time. May his work live on.
Posted By Anonymous Jesse, Boston, Mass : 10:55 PM ET
I loved Gordon Parks. I loved his pictures, his thoughts and words, the artistry and humanity and transcendence of all his outpourings. I read his autobiographies and saw his work for Life magazine years ago and was thoroughly touched by his particular perceptions, which spoke to me of the commonality of human existence -- he was like a painter the way he communicated essences, via word or picture... His autobiographies struck me as fantastic (just as Maya Angelou's did). I'm sad to hear of his passing. What a great soul, what a great artist. I got to look in his eyes once and tell him that, at a tribute to him at the African American Museum in L.A. He smiled, and signed my book. Condolences to your mom on the loss of her friend.
Posted By Anonymous Moya Coleman, Santa Monica, CA : 11:02 PM ET
I remember being a snot-nosed photographer on the elevated photographer stand at the 1969 Nixon Inaugural. I'd brough every type of film imaginable. As the weather darkened and snow flurries threatened -- tungsten TV lights flickered on. The dapper black photog on my right uttered 'Damm', he only had daylight-balanced film. I offered by 20 rolls of tungsten-balanced film, which he promised to replace. He shared his zippo hand-warmer and thermos of hot chocolate, and hints and anecdotes as we shot and compared notes and exposures. We both got our shots. I'll never forget the day the mail arrived a week later with 300' of tungsten film and a generous thank you. I hadn't known his name until then -- it was Gordon Parks.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Sidoric / Austin, TX : 11:03 PM ET
He lived a great life and enlightened a world through his vision. Let us celebrate his life and his work, he was an inspiration to many of us photographers. I am also saddend to learn of his death only through this blog. His footprints on this Earth seemed much larger.
Posted By Anonymous T. Soqui, Los Angeles, CA : 11:09 PM ET
As an artist it is difficult to comprehend how one person explored so many paths with such high quality and humanity. Mr. Parks was a true Rennaisance man of his time and shed an incredible amount of insight into this world. he was unique. thanks for the story, Anderson.
Posted By Anonymous Russ, Lufkin, TX : 11:13 PM ET
Anderson, an extraordinary tribute to an extraordinary man !
Posted By Anonymous Max Sherrin, Sarnia, Ontario : 11:15 PM ET
With the passing of Gordon Parks, a bright light has gone out in this world. His many photographs have forever captured an era in time.

My condolences to his family and friends.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 11:23 PM ET
I am so sorry that you lost a friend dear to you. You don't really let on how much he meant to you; you try to hide it. But when you really allow yourself to write as you did today, you wear your heart poignantly on your sleeve. Losing a parent's contemporary is so difficult. Difficult for the obvious yet unspeakable reason. Difficult because you lose another little chunk of childhood-finally when you've learned to value it. I knew just a bit of your friend. Tonight,thanks to you, he is more than just a name. My condolonces.
Posted By Anonymous Annie, Toledo : 11:34 PM ET
What a lovely tribute, Anderson! Very well said. Sadly, until now, I had never heard of Gordon Parks, but now I know he was someone who made a wonderful contribution to the world. Clearly, he was someone special to you and your mom. My condolences to you both. Peace.
Posted By Anonymous Linnea, Bloomington, MN : 11:55 PM ET
We lost a hero today... a champion for his people.
Posted By Anonymous Maryanne Padilla, Raleigh NC : 11:55 PM ET
I'm a bit surprised that no one has mentioned his work for the FSA project before WWII. I believe that that is why he landed the "Life" job, a proven photojournalist with a quite poetic eye and one of several major stars to come out of the FSA, such as Walker Evans and others.
Posted By Anonymous Henny van Dijk, Houston, TX : 12:12 AM ET
I love these quotes by Gordon Parks:
"Those people who want to use a camera should have something in mind, there's something they want to show, something they want to say...," Parks explains. "I picked up a camera because it was my choice of weapons against what I hated most about the universe: racism, intolerance, poverty. I could have just as easily picked up a knife or a gun, like many of my childhood friends did... most of whom were murdered or put in prison... but I chose not to go that way. I felt that I could somehow subdue these evils by doing something beautiful that people recognize me by, and thus make a whole different life for myself, which has proved to be so."
"Many times I wondered whether my achievement was worth the loneliness I experienced, but now I realize the price was small. "
Posted By Anonymous patricia - Columbus, Ohio : 12:48 AM ET
When I finished reading your blog I'll admit that I had tears in my eyes. I didn't know Gordon Parks and I feel as if I have truly missed out on a wonderful life. I think that what you have written is how every person wishes to be remembered-- a life that meant something and a legacy that will live on forever. Thank you for sharing your personal story with all of us and for bringing his achievements to light.
Posted By Anonymous Kimberly Miller, Lancaster, PA : 12:50 AM ET
How could anyone not be touched by the words you have chosen to honor Mr. Parks.

I'm sorry I didn't know of him sooner.

I'm glad I know of him now.

Thank you for passing on the memory.
Posted By Anonymous Marisol, Aurora, Colorado : 3:00 AM ET
As I read the book your mother wrote and you edited, and from the many eulogies now appearing, a defining characteristic of this modern-day Renaissance Man must be a discipline which could shrug off the torments and distractions inflicted because of his color; to stay focused, while applying his genius to a stunning range of endeavors. We are indeed fortunate that such a man lived among us.
Posted By Anonymous David Binkerd, Monterey, California : 4:19 AM ET
Thank you Anderson Cooper. I remember growing up with Mr Parks through his "clear/stark" photography with Life Magazine of the "times" while I was in college in Montana. The genius of "Shaft" and "Super fly"! This became clear through the CBS Sunday Morning feature that showed his Photography and clips of Shaft. May the Lord bless him and his Family while strengthening your family bonds! God Bless you and your Family Mr Cooper. I thank you again for your contributions!
Posted By Anonymous Clark A. Lucas II, New Meadows, ID : 5:26 AM ET
Dear Anderson

My prayer and thought are with you and your mother.

"Last poems, the Apparitions"
by William Butler Yeats

When a man grows old his joy

Grows more deep day after day,

His empty heart is full at length

But he has need of all that strength

Because of the increasing night

That opens her mystery and fright.
Posted By Anonymous Guihyun Nahm, South Korea : 5:44 AM ET
The love of a friend is hard to let go of, but as most of us know who have loved and lost; love lives on past the grave. After looking at his work I have come to believe that Mr. Parks lived his life for love alone. In the end that is all we have -LOVE. He was a true inspiration to all people. The friendship he and your mother shared was also an inspiration. It is hard to believe that not long ago Blacks and Whites, Rich and Poor didn't mix. I believe that because of people like your mother and Mr. Parks hearts and minds have been changed toward race, friendship & love. My son and I are a result of such change (I am white and he is black). That adoption could not have happened without people like your mother and Mr. Parks leading the way- breaking down doors. Thank you to both of them.

To AC's Mom: Rest in the fact that your friendship made a difference in this world and your love lives on forever.
Posted By Anonymous Cheryl Welch, Raleigh NC : 8:47 AM ET
Thank you for your touching piece on Mr. Parks. I was truly saddened to hear about his passing this morning. His life and art were such an inspiration and he provided a lense for us to look into the lives of such diverse people as fashion models in Paris, New England fishermen, and residents of Harlem. You are truly fortunate to have met such a great man.
Posted By Anonymous Deidra, Washington D.C : 9:22 AM ET
I live in Minneapolis, MN and I have been well acquainted with the art and example of Gordon Parks since I was child growing up in DC. He was an example of a true renaissance black male and something I aspired to be.

I truly feel it a shame that both major newspapers in the Twin Cites devoted so much time (full front page photos) to Kirby Puckett, a guy whose talent pretty much consisted of hitting a tiny round ball and occasional catching it and asides from that did little else for society; while Mr. Parks, who contributions to society as a whole are innumerable, received a far more diminutive farewell.

I feel shame for a society that values womanizing, abusive athletes over those who truly have made a lasting impact.

Where are our priorities?
Posted By Anonymous Dameun Strange, Minneapolis, MN : 9:28 AM ET
I just can't explain what Gordon Parks and his work has meant in my life. The very first time I read his book "The Learning Tree" as a young girl,I simply wanted to know everything about the man who could see the world and tell a story the way he did...for some reason or another that movie touched me so profoundly that I have followed his career, read or watched every interview, purchased every book, seen every photograph that I could and even got a chance to look into his eyes and shake his hand in Chicago many years ago. I will never forget his eyes and how he looked at me when I thanked him. He was a gifted soul, he could have lived 10 lifetimes and never fully shared all that he saw with those beautiful eyes. His vision will live on in his photographs, art, music, movies and books. For those who incredibly didn't know about him, here is your chance...then you may will agree with me that we have just lost a great American treasure. Thank you Anderson.
Posted By Anonymous Chicka - Bloomington, Indiana : 9:45 AM ET
My uncle, who earned his living at an art critic and photographer knew Gordon Parks. He told me that Mr. Parks had more talent and heart than any person he ever met.
Posted By Anonymous Robert Sager-Bowie, Arizona : 9:45 AM ET
Anderson,

What a beautiful tribute to Gordon Parks! Being a middle age black woman, I had heard of him, and some of the movies that he had made. He had a long successful life and I thank you for your wonderful tribute to him.
Posted By Anonymous Candy M. Indianapolis, IN : 9:46 AM ET
Anderson, Your tribute to Gordon Parks points out the obvious. Our hero worship of movie stars and sports figures is so misguided. I did not even know of Gordon Parks or his work, and that saddens me.
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage Brooklyn Michigan : 9:49 AM ET
Gordon Parks was one of my inspirations as a young photographer in the 1970s. Despite being a middle class white kid, or maybe because of it, I was moved by his story and his dignity, but even more by his work. He was a remarkable human being, and the world is less informed, less gracious, and less appealing without him.
Posted By Anonymous Steve Anderson, Locust Grove, Virginia : 9:52 AM ET
I am right now setting in the same small Kansas town that Gordon Parks was born and grew up in. He came back to film The Learning Tree here. He graciously donated his photographs to be displayed here. It took so long for this town to appriciate his talent, but I hope I speak for many in saying that we are all better for having him call Fort Scott his home town, no matter how far away he traveled. And we are proud to have him come home.
Posted By Anonymous Vickie Collins, Fort Scott, KS : 9:55 AM ET
When I was in high school my class and I went to see the movie "The Learning Tree". For me at the time, it was just another way of cutting classes for the day. As I sat in the theater and watched the movie I was spellbound. It touched me in many ways from Newt's first love to the racism causing him to lose it. I'll never forget it. I thank God for Mr. Parks and thank you for remembering him in such a moving way.
Posted By Anonymous H. Slaughter, Fontana,Ca. : 9:59 AM ET
Gordon Parks and his photography inspired a young middle class white girl first to take pictures - of places, things and people. His poetry and writing offered further encouragement and hope. He will be remembered by me forever.
Posted By Anonymous Kathleen Hennessy Amirault Beverly, MA : 10:12 AM ET
I heard Gordon Parks read his poetry several years ago when I began a Ph.D. program in English. His voice, his quiet dignity, and his unfailing grasp of the human condition won me over immediately. Truly, an under-apreciated senior statesman of so many things is lost to us. Thankfully, his legacy is tremendous.
Posted By Anonymous Timothy, Jacksonville, AL : 10:25 AM ET
What a remarkable man. I had the pleasure of spending some time with Gordon in the summer of 2000. I worked on a project with his son David. he took the time to talk to me at length and inspired me to keep chasing my dreams. I cried this morning upon being awoken with the news. What a magical life he lead. I only wish my procrastination and self absorbtion would 'nt have kept me from spendin another moment with such a legend. What do i have left? A Life Photos book signed by Gordon to my mother and I, two very strong admirers of the man and his work. If I can contribute a fraction of what Gordon has in his life, Ill be a happy man. God bless you Gordon, wherever you are my friend. You were truly a remarkable man, and I love you for that.
Posted By Anonymous adam brewer, austin, tx. : 10:31 AM ET
As a public school teacher, I hold Gordon Parks up as a role model for what a socially conscious human being should be...my students enjoy his work and activism...he will be missed, but long remembered for his many forms of expression that touched so many...
Posted By Anonymous Ted Baechtold, Bloomington, IN : 10:46 AM ET
A quote from Gordon Parks's book Vision:

I've known both misery and happiness, lived in so many different skins it is impossible for one skin to claim me. And I have felt like a wayfarer on an alien planet at times walking, running, wondering about what brought me to this particular place, and why. But once I was here the dreams started moving in, and I went about devouring them as they devoured me.

What an amazing, amazing man and if you don't know who he was...your really should.
Posted By Anonymous Karen K. Chicago, IL : 11:04 AM ET
Gordon Parks the photographer for Life yeah I remember him. Gordon Parks the director sure I have seen Shaft and other Shaft movies. Gordon Parks the composer and writer yes I do indeed remember him. The sad thing is that most young African-Americans do not.
Posted By Anonymous Maple, Abbeville SC : 11:14 AM ET
Thank you so much for your story of Gordon Parks to help introduce him to those that did not know him.
Mr. Parks was my first favorite photographer when I was a student. He continues to be an inspiration to my work today. I studied him thoroughly and wrote many papers about him, his life, his symbolism. What a fasanating life to have lived for anyone, but especially an African American that struggled through all of what he did in an America that did not appreciate him initially.
I only wish more people knew who he was while he was still here, but it is at least of some comfort that people care now, even in his death.
AC, please remember Mr. Parks on 360 tonight. As clearly demonstrated by this blog, there is the interest and he was well loved by many, and by your own family.
I am sorry for all of our loss.
Posted By Anonymous Omya, NY, NY : 11:19 AM ET
Mr. Cooper,

As the Executive Director of Parks-Hall, a non-profit arts organization named in honor of Gordon Parks and dedicated to showcasing and supporting the work of overlooked and emerging artists of color, I would like to thank you for using your platform to bring attention to one of the few true geniuses of our time. The life of Gordon Parks should be celebrated as we do all other artistic, cultural and political icons throughout history. Gordon Parks represents a paradigm shift in not only African-American history, but in the history of our nation. Our generation must continue the work that he began, using our various platforms to shine light on everything from the oppressed and impoverished to the beautiful and artistic. That is the only fitting tribute for such a great man. Once again, Thank you.
Posted By Anonymous Todd N. Triplett, Brooklyn, NY : 11:22 AM ET
As a painter and artist, I have long admired Gordon Parks' work. As an intuitive person, I knew he was the real thing, authentic before authentic was "in". I loved hearing him speak, he was so elegant and classy. I am glad he was active to the end. What an excellent role model for us all.
Posted By Anonymous M. Smith, Glastonbury, CT : 11:31 AM ET
It is always sad to hear about the loss of a great talent such as Mr. Parks. Since the 1960s when I was a little kid and first saw his photography....I loved him. His photography had a great effect on me. I'm happy to hear that he had a long, accomplished life. I'm sad that he suffered so much during his life. I hope he realized that his suffering and joy, as conveyed in his photography, taught many people....if they didn't learn.....how sad.
Posted By Anonymous Marilyn Marks, Teaneck, New Jersey : 11:32 AM ET
I had the privilege to hear Mr Parks speak a few years ago and meet him. When I heard the news of his death I was saddened that the world had lost this incredibly gracious and honorable man.
Posted By Anonymous Martha, Farmington CT : 11:44 AM ET
The dwildling of great black people with each passing year, their tales and acts of heroism will forever be remembered. I hope people of the world would appreciate what $7.50 camera contributed to history. May his soul rest in peace.....
Posted By Anonymous Spencer Osakue. Manteca. CA. : 12:06 PM ET
It was a green Jaguar. He promised it to me too when I was 8 or 9. He was one of the most remarkable people I've ever known. It's sad to see him go but I'm comforted knowing he lead such a long and full life.
Posted By Anonymous David, CA : 12:07 PM ET
My family has had a book of Gordon Parks photography on the living room coffee table for years. Other such books have come and gone, but somehow this collection continues to draw us in and compel us to look and study over and over again. I'm sorry to hear of his passing, but his was a life well-lived that will continue to serve as an example and inspiration.
Posted By Anonymous Belinda, Bentonville, Ark. : 12:20 PM ET
Mr. Parks is one of many towering pillars who recognized his ruling passion was far too valuable to take with him to his eternal rest. As a product of the civil rights era in rural south Mississippi, I thank God daily for the courage and strength Gordon Parks and others demonstrated on my behalf.
Posted By Anonymous Carrie, Laurel, MS : 12:30 PM ET
Gordon Parks taught me what true poverty was, and what it meant to feel prejudice. In high school I read his autobiography and the images from that book still haunt me. The hunting for pigeons to eat, the extreme pain of hunger and poverty, and the grittiness of resolving to survive at all costs riveted me as a teenager. Gordon Parks will always have a special place in my life. He is the first writer I ever read who really told the truth. His works, both in writing, photography and all other creative pursuits, captures not only the pains of poverty, prejudice and bigotry, but most important, his spirit to overcome rises above even the most difficult of corcumstances. Gordon Parks is a national hero, and will always be, for that. May God be with his family and may God welcome Gordon to heaven as the man gave so much hope to so many.
Posted By Anonymous Louis, Irvine CA : 12:46 PM ET
Gordan Parks was a true Renaissance Man and lived more lives than many of could ever imagine. Ironically he came across my mind recently as I wondered how he was doing. Whenever someone in my family takes too long to snap a picture we often say, "Come on, who do you think you are, Gordan Park?"
We miss you and God Bless
Posted By Anonymous Oscar Scott, III, Duluth, GA : 1:02 PM ET
Gordon Parks he is one bad mother--

"Shut yo' mouth"

I'm just talkin' bout Gordon Parks, baby.
Posted By Anonymous Kortan Askew Miami, FL : 1:45 PM ET
AC: I've admired your work for some time now, but I'll admit this is the first time you've brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for the beautiful piece/article on Parks. I too, was an avid fan of his. I too thought he was the coolest man on the planet. Unlike you, I never met him or got to know him to the extent you did. Thanks for adding a little more insight. I can only envy your relationship with him and imagine that his presence in your life has had a positive effect and in some small way helped influenced your career choice. He will be missed. Thanks again for an excellent piece.
Posted By Anonymous Dave Nolley, Baltimore Maryland : 1:46 PM ET
I knew of Gordon Parks. When I heard he died, I was overwhelmed with emotion because one of the greatest "Griots" of the Black struggle had died. His photographs spoke to the soul and human spirit. A person didn't have to be literate to read to understand the message being conveyed in his photographs. All he/she had to do was look at his photographs (which told the story). Thank God, for allowing Mr. Parks the opportunity to share his compassion, hear and keen eye with the world!
Posted By Anonymous Roni Slater, New York City : 1:52 PM ET
Dear Mr. Anderson,

Your blog about Mr. Parks really touched his heart. He is my great grandfather. And we miss him so much, but we all know that he will live on in the hearts of so many people like yourself forever.
Posted By Anonymous Dannah L. saco maine : 6:58 PM ET
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