If you’ve been following the blog you know that on Tuesdays I usually post a photo that I’ve come across and list 10 words to describe the photo. I then usually ask you to leave your words. If you think about it, if 100 people left 10 words each…there’d be 1000 words. Let’s make that happen 🙂
This week I want to do something different. I want to share, in more than 10 words, the story behind a photograph I saw at the Museum of the African Diaspora while in San Francisco this past weekend.
Photo courtesy of Gordon Parks
Gordon Parks was an amazing African America artist, primarily recognized for his photography. Early in his career he was encouraged to leave Chicago and head to Washington DC and work for the government using his photography skills. He immediately stated that he couldn’t do that. He was then given an assignment by the man extending the invitation to DC. He was told to go to three establishments in the area including a department store and a restaurant. Gordon walked in to all three establishments and was either not acknowledged or told he would be acknowledged once he went around back and used the entrance for Negroes.
When he completed the assignment and reported back to the person who sent him on this experience Gordon shared his anger and disdain. He was told “Well photograph it.”
Gordon’s response “You can’t just photograph a bigot and put bigot under it. Bigots look like anyone else, sometimes better. You gotta capture the bigotry. Get at the root of it.”
And so he took this picture. He went back to the restaurant, around back, and here was this woman, cleaning, and then there was the American Flag. This was him getting at the root of bigotry, a tolerance a nation created and promoted for discrimination. A system for what Gordon Parks later shared he hated- “racism, intolerance, and poverty.”
If I learned nothing else from the Gordon Parks exhibit which included a documentary of his life, it’s that to LIVE you have to be willing to get to the root of things and create change.
Okay, so I left a lot of words this week, but you can still eave yours! xxoo