Capturing the Civil Rights Era Through the Lens of Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks captured the beauty, horror, and complexities behind the lives of those who lived during the Civil Rights Era.


Gordon Parks was a pioneer of U.S. documentary photojournalism over the course of the 20th century. Outside of his photography career, Parks was also recognized as renowned author, composer, and filmmaker. He used his talents to raise awareness of the beauty and complexities of urban life, and was the first African-American photographer to produce and direct motion pictures. Parks was wholeheartedly committed to social justice and the importance of documenting American culture.

In addition, he documented the American social landscape from the 1940s up until his death in 2006, with a focus on race relations, poverty, civil rights, and urban life. Here is a collection of powerful photographs that document the beauty and heartbreak of everyday life during the Civil Rights Era.