San Diego, CA (October, 2016) – The San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art (SDAAMFA) is pleased to present The Photography of Gordon Parks in combination with a Tribute to Our African American Troops. The work will be on view at the Veterans Museum of Balboa Park beginning November 12-December 16, 2016. The museum will host an opening night reception 4-7:30 PM in conjunction with the screening of the film the Anderson Platoon and a panel discussion with Joseph Anderson (featured in the film) and other African American Vietnam Veterans.

The poignant photos documenting the segregation that existed in the United States at the same time African Americans were asked to fight in Vietnam are very moving and serve as the foundation for the exhibit. This exhibit is presented in collaboration with the Veterans Museum will feature 22 photographs most created while Gordon Parks was a photographer with Life Magazine.

“Gordon Parks had unique gift. He used his photographs’ to expose the injustice of segregation and racism by putting a human face to it, said Gaidi Finnie, Executive Director of SDAAMFA. “The juxtaposition of these photos with the reality of African Americans leaving segregated neighborhoods to fight for democracy halfway around the world in Vietnam is the focus for the exhibit. We are extremely pleased to present Parks brilliant works and pay a tribute to the troops which is long overdue.

The Veterans Museum has an extensive Vietnam War exhibit and the Parks Photos will be on display in the same gallery. “The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park is both pleased and honored to be able to host the SDAAMFA exhibit of Gordon Parks’ photographs”, noted the Veterans Museum President/CEO Captain Sheldon Margolis, USN (Retired). “This collection is a marvelous tribute to African American Veterans and a spectacular addition to the Veterans Museum’s Vietnam War Retrospective, which opened in 2015 on the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon.”

About Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks was a self-taught photographer who purchased his first camera at a pawnshop, and he honed his skills as a society and fashion photographer in Chicago. The Farm Security Administration hired Parks to document the social conditions of the nation. Parks later moved on to New York where he worked as a fashion photographer for Vogue and Life magazine (Life), displaying the depth of his incredible talent.

Parks was the first African-American photographer for Life magazine, and during his 20-year tenure he produced some of the 20th century’s most iconic social justice-themed photo essays. Parks was simultaneously a writer, filmmaker, and music composer; he wrote the semi-autobiographical novel, The Learning Tree (1963), along with books of poetry.

As the director of the film shaft (1971) including the sequel, he opened the door for many who would follow in his footsteps. He was also co-founder Essence magazine in the 1970s. Gordon Parks died in 2006 at the age of 93. A Special Tribute to our Troops November 12-Opening night-A screening of the film “The Anderson Platoon”, winner of the 1967 Academy Award for best documentary which chronicles an integrated combat unit led by Joseph Anderson The film will be followed program a panel of Vietnam Veterans will share the Moderated by Joseph Anderson, President and CEO of TAG Holdings, LLC, Robert “Bobby” Mc Donald, Hakim Alaji, Co-Founder Community Preparatory School, Mr. Norris Charles, Retired Professor Mesa College and Dr. James Kitchen Vice President for Student Affairs, (Emeritus) SDSU.

November 19, 2016-A discussion with the co-author of “We Gotta Get out of This Place, The Sound Tract for The Vietnam War”. The book discussion is being co-sponsored by the San Diego State University Veterans Center. This book was selected by Rolling Stone Magazine as the #1 book on music in 2015. This event will be held at the SDSU Alumni Center and is free to the public. December 11, 2016- Appreciation Brunch Join as we say thank you, to our Veterans. The Brunch will be held at Bayview Baptist Church 6134 Benson Avenue, san Diego, CA 92114 and is free to the general public.

About the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art The San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art was established in 1992. A decade after its opening, the museum’s activities went dormant. In 2013, a small group of individuals came together to reestablish SDAAMFA. The purpose of this museum is to present and preserve the art of African Americans globally. The museum’s programming is curated with the goal of educating those who are interested in learning and impress even the most seasoned art enthusiast. www.sdaamfa.org

About the Veterans Museum

The Veterans Memorial Center, Inc. was formed in March 1989 to create, maintain and operate an institution to honor and perpetuate the memories of all men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces and Wartime Merchant Marine.

The location of the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park was the former San Diego Naval Hospital Chapel at Inspiration Point in Balboa Park, part of a complex of architecturally significant buildings with rich historical connections to the San Diego region’s naval heritage. www.veteranmuseum.org/about

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