Documenting art and history: the “Back to Fort Scott” materials in the Gordon Parks Papers
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Madway, Lorraine. 2016. "Documenting art and history: the “Back to Fort Scott” materials in the Gordon Parks Papers." Great Plains Quarterly, v.36, no.2 (Spring 2016): 81-99.
The materials dealing with Gordon Parks’s unpublished article for Life magazine, “Back to Fort Scott,” in the Gordon Parks Papers at Wichita State University Libraries are one of the most compelling and illuminating parts of this manuscript collection. These items document a critical point in Parks’s development as an artist and provide an incisive account of the practice and effects of racial segregation in the Midwest from the 1920s through the 1940s. This essay looks at the artistic, historical, and archival significance of the content of these materials. A close reading reveals the excitement and the challenges of documenting the creativity of an artist whose activities blurred the boundaries between the personal and the professional and between the private and public parts of his life.
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