Fort Scott residents celebrate the life of Gordon Parks on his birthday

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FORT SCOTT, Kans. — The last day of November means something every year to the people in and around Fort Scott.

November 30th is Gordon Parks’ birthday. He would’ve been 109-years old today. And the museum that bears his name held a special celebration.

“Gordon Parks is an internationally known photographer, film maker, writer, musician, poet, you name it – he’s done it. He’s a renaissance man,” said Kirk Sharp, Executive Director of the Gordon Parks Museum.

The Gordon Parks Musuem located at Fort Scott Community College is celebrating the trailblazer.

“We want people to learn Gordon’s life story. His remarkable journey throughout his career and all the obstacles he had to overcome to make his career successful in so many fields,” said Sharp.

Tuesday morning the museum held a showing for his movie “learning tree” which was filmed in Fort Scott.

“It’s an autobiography of how he grew up here. And so what he did was he put Fort Scott on the map and make that part of his historical career and making that historical monumental time on film that was not only important then its still important today. He was the first black film maker to make a motion picture film in Hollywood,” said Sharp.

The movie was placed in the Library of Congress in 1989 as one of the top 25 important films. Parks was 93-years-old when he passed away in 2006.

“His legacy is for others to follow for others to create and try to enhance some of the things that Gordon’s worked on through the messaging of racism, poverty discrimination and also beauty too as well. Gordon’s taken a lot of photos with fashion and nature as well,” said Sharp.

The museum has memorabilia from parks movies and his life.

“I like that throughout his life he tried to bridge the gaps in racism. And unfortunately I think its still needed today. I’m very proud of all the work he was able to do, but I cant help but look at some of his earlier works and what could he have bene able to accomplish if he had not had the extra barriers,” said Jamie Collins, visiting from Nevada.

The museum has two to three thousand visitors a year, and attracts people from all over the world.

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