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This open access digital exhibition catalog is part of the Kansas State University (K-State) Gordon Parks Project, initiated by the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art and K-State English. It presents new research about Parks’s activities in Kansas based on materials found in participating Kansas institutions, including 128 curated photographs donated by Gordon Parks to K-State. The contributions in this volume illuminate Parks’s relationship to his home state of Kansas as a source of reference and inspiration. They debunk the myth that Kansas was merely the place where Gordon Parks was born before moving on to greatness elsewhere.

This book provides a series of intimate biographical snapshots of pivotal periods in the life of Gordon Parks. These short essays taken in their entirety, provide a dazzling and selected biography on the life of one of the most important photographers who lived and worked in the 20th and 21st century. These essays written by a range of writers and curators are engaging and are arranged thematically over the span of fifty years. The format of the book offers a new and unique method of connecting art, photography, film and biography. In reading this, the reader begins to imagine the life of a photographer who envisioned justice and attempted to realize it through his photographs and storytelling through his personal experiences. The power of his personal story is integrated with the personal, cultural, and politics of a time when he lived and worked in the field of photography addressing the challenges and triumphs of black people in America.

This is a book that adds wonderfully to Gordon Parks life as it introduces new questions, specifically about sexual abuse in the Learning Tree and the “underdiscussed” activities of Parks life.

--Deborah Willis, Ph.D. University Professor Chair, Department of Photography & Imaging New York University - Tisch School of the Arts Director, Center for Black Visual Culture



Publication Date



New Prairie Press


Manhattan, KS


Aileen June Wang


Gordon Parks, Kansas history, photography, African American literature, African American film, digital humanities


Art and Design | Art Practice | Arts and Humanities | Digital Humanities | Film and Media Studies | Interdisciplinary Arts and Media

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Gordon Parks: “Homeward to the Prairie I Come” Digital Exhibition Catalog