EXCERPT: ‘Fields of Vision: The Photographs of Gordon Parks’
Several years before he became LIFE’s first African-American staff photographer, the young and talented Gordon Parks was an apprentice with the Farm Security Administration, documenting the lives of black Americans and poor laborers on the homefront during World War II. His work — along with the FSA work of iconic photographers Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, and others — comprises an astonishing public archive, hundreds of thousands of pictures that capture evocative moments in “ordinary” lives. Now, through a new series called Fields of Vision (published by GILES), the Library of Congress is highlighting the portfolios of the FSA photographers. Here, LIFE.com presents a peek inside Fields of Vision: The Photographs of Gordon Parks (introduction by Charles Johnson). Pictured: a Harlem newsboy in spring 1943. At left is a poster for the civil rights leader and politician Adam Clayton Powell Jr., who would represent the area in the United States House of Representatives from 1945 to 1971.