Gordan Parks was a trailblazer in film, photography, music and literature. He was born on November 30,1912 in Fort Scott, Kansas. After working many odd jobs, Parks bought his first camera at the age of 25. He became famous for his potraits of African American leaders such as Malcom X, Muhammad Ali and Stokely Carmichael. In 1948 Parks landed a position as a staff photographer for LIFE magazine. He became the first African American photograher for both LIFE and Vogue magazines. Parks would later begin a writing career, publishing his autobiogrhaphy, The Learning Tree in 1962. In 1969 Parks became the first African American to direct a major Hollywood movie. His first film was an adaptation of his own autobiography. Parks next movie, Shaft, was one of the biggest box office hits in 1971. Gordan parks died at the age of 95 on March 7, 2006 in New York City.