Gordon Parks: The Segregation Portfolio
In collaboration with The Gordon Parks Foundation and Arnika Dawkins Gallery, Jackson Fine Art is honored to premiere and celebrate on his 100th birthday, The Segregation Portfolio by acclaimed African American photographer Gordon Parks. This unique collection of 12 recently discovered color photographs were taken during a Life Magazine assignment in 1957 on race relations in the south.
Gordon Parks was commissioned by Life magazine in 1957 to create a portrait of segregation in the South titled The Restraints: Open and Hidden. The experience was a harrowing one for Parks – during his first visit to the south Parks was placed in charged racial environment of Alabama while narrowly escaped an ambush by vigilantes with tar and feathers. After publication, the Causey Family, one of the families chronicled for the story, had their home and belongings confiscated. Once the editors of Life heard of this development, they promptly flew to Alabama in an attempt to have the family’s belongings returned. It became clear that the mayor of the town would not give in, so Life relocated the family and gave them twentyfive thousand dollars to start a new life. The original Life story featured 26 color photographs. A number of these were printed later in Parks career, mostly in black and white, and exhibited nationally, including at the Corcoran Museum of Art. In 2012, The Gordon Parks Foundation discovered a cache of color transparencies, labeled with masking tape “Segregation Story.” The brilliance of this misplaced collection of color works led the Foundation to create a boxed set of archival pigment prints revisiting this historic story.
Gordon Parks, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Thornton, Mobile, Alabama, (37.003), 1956
Untitled, Shady Grove, Alabama, 1956 ©The Gordon Parks Foundation
Black Classroom, Shady Grove, Alabama, 1956 ©The Gordon Parks Foundation
Ondria Tanner and Her Grandmother Window-shopping, Mobile, Alabama, 1956 ©The Gordon Parks Foundation
Store Front, Mobile, Alabama, 1956 ©The Gordon Parks Foundation
Mother and Children, Mobile, Alabama, 1956 ©The Gordon Parks Foundation