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


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