In 1912, filmmaker Gordon Parks was born. Parks was a photographer, musician, poet, novelist, journalist, activist and film director. He is best remembered for his photo essays for Life magazine and as the director of the 1971 film Shaft.
He was the first African American to work at Life magazine, and the first to write, direct, and score a Hollywood film. He was profiled in the 1967 documentary "Weapons of Gordon Parks" by American filmmaker Warren Forma.
Parks was a co-founder of Essence magazine and one of the early contributors to the blaxploitation genre.
Parks himself said that freedom was the theme of all of his work, Not allowing anyone to set boundaries, cutting loose the imagination and then making the new horizons.
Parks' son, Gordon Parks, Jr. (1934–1979), directed blaxploitation films, including Super Fly.