Tuesday, August 14, 2018
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Harlem Gang Leader, a new exhibition of photographs by Gordon Parks, explores Parks’
immersive investigation of Harlem’s gang culture in the late 1940s for Life magazine. It will be on view at the
foundation’s exhibition space from August 6 through October 12. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
Harlem Gang Leader examines Parks’ earliest picture story as the first African American photographer at Life, the
most important picture magazine in the world at the time. Over a six-week period Parks befriended the teenage
gang leader Leonard “Red” Jackson and documented every facet of his life, including diplomatic sessions with
other gangs, fights, his community, his quiet moments at home, and other typical activities of a teenager. Parks
carefully crafted an in-depth portrait of Jackson as a complex and conflicted teenager, who shouldered the burden
of daily chores one moment and posed as a symbol of community leadership the next.
However, per standard practice of a Life photographer, Parks handed over his negatives to the magazine’s
editors, forfeiting control over their use and presentation. The resulting photo-essay, “Harlem Gang Leader,” was
published in the November 1, 1948 issue. Almost every picture selected–and the subsequent reshaping of those
photographs through drastic cropping–were chosen to visually underscore the pre-conceived notion that Jackson
was a criminal.
Event Location and Ticket Information
The Gordon Parks Foundation
48 Wheeler Avenue
Pleasantville, NY 10570
Handicap Accessible? Yes
Date: Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Times: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Presenter Website: www.gordonparksfoundation.com