Minnesota Historical Society

Choice of Weapons

$ 17.95


Gordon Parks--photographer for Life magazine, writer, composer, artist, and filmmaker--was only 16 in 1928 when he moved from Kansas to St. Paul, Minnesota, after his mother's death. There, homeless and hungry, he began his fight to survive, to educate himself, and to "prove my worth."

Working as a janitor, railroad porter, musician, or basketball player in such places as St. Paul, Chicago, and New York, Parks struggled against poverty and racism. He taught himself photography with a secondhand camera, worked for black newspapers, and began to document the poverty among African Americans on Chicago's South Side. Then his photographic work brought him to Washington, D.C., as first a photographer with the federal Farm Security Administration and later a war correspondent during World War II.

This compelling autobiography, first published in 1966, tells how Parks managed to escape the poverty and bigotry around him, and launch his distinguished career, by choosing the weapons given him by "a mother who placed love, dignity, and hard work over hatred."


  • By: Gordon Parks
  • Format: Paperback book, 192 pp., 5.5 X 8.25 in.
  • Publisher: MNHS Press
  • Product ##: 9780873517690

     Praise for A Choice of Weapons:

    "A perceptive narrative of one man's struggle to realize the values (defined as democratic and especially American) he has been taught to respect." -- New York Times Book Review

    "A lean, well-written memoir." -- Time

    "This is an excellent introduction to what it must have been like to be black and ambitious--and poor--in the America of a generation ago." -- Saturday Review

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