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Gordon 1

Parks filming The Learning Tree, 1968.

Encouraged by acclaimed film director and friend, John Cassavettes, Gordon Parks wrote, directed, and scored the first major Hollywood film to be directed by a black American, The Learning Tree (1969) based on his semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. By this point, Life magazine’s halcyon days were drawing to a close and Parks became increasingly involved in directing films.  He would go on to create short documentaries and direct such iconic films as Shaft, along with bio-pics depicting the lives of significant black Americans, such as Leadbelly and Solomon Northup’s Odyssey

Slideshow

The Learning Tree - movie poster, 1969

The Learning Tree - promotional poster, 1969

Shaft - movie poster, 1971

Shaft - promotional image, 1971

Shaft - movie poster, 1971 (Japanese Release)

Shaft - movie poster, 1971 (Serbian Release)

Shaft's Big Score - movie poster, 1972

Shaft's Big Score - movie poster, 1972 (Italian Release)

The Super Cops - movie poster, 1974

Leadbelly - movie poster, 1976

Video

Excerpt from Diary of a Harlem Family, 1968

Filmography

*Flavio, 1964

*Diary of a Harlem Family, 1968

*The World of Piri Thomas, 1968

*The Learning Tree, 1969

*Shaft, 1971

*Shaft’s Big Score!, 1972

*The Super Cops, 1974

*Leadbelly, 1976

*Solomon Northup’s Odyssey, 1984

*Moments Without Proper Names, 1987

*Martin, 1989