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GORDON PARKS, 1912 – 2006

Multiple sources are reporting the sad news that pioneering black director and photojournalist Gordon Parks died today in New York. He was 93.

In 1969, Parks completed his first film, The Learning Tree, based on his own novel about growing up in Kansas in the 1920s. In doing so, he became the first black American to write and direct a studio motion picture. Later he would go on to achieve commercial success with the seminal “blaxploitation” film Shaft. More recently he appeared in an HBO documentary on his work, Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks. His name also adorned a screenplay award given by the Independent Feature Project.

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