Amon Carter print details

Red Jackson with His Mother and Brother, Harlem, New York

Gordon Parks (1912-2006)

Object Details

  • Date


  • Object Type


  • Medium

    Gelatin silver print

  • Dimensions

    13 7/16 x 10 5/8 in.

  • Inscriptions


    u.l. in graphite: 1948 1-Page 95

    u.c. printed in ink: LIFE PHOTO / BY / Gordon Parks [handwritten in graphite]

    u.r. printed in ink: OCT 8 1945

    c.r. on white label: N DIRECT TO / JOHNSON / M 5-01

    c. in graphite: 1 neg 50% [enclosed in circle] / u [enclosed in circle]

    c.r. in graphite: 53 / 00 / 10

    c.r. in grease pencil: 66.3

    c. in red grease pencil: G

    l.l. printed in blue: 27655

    l.l. in blue pencil: xRaces-Negroes / xYouth-US-Boys

    l.c. printed in red ink: USED IN LIFE NOV 1 1948 P. 99 [in graphite]

    l.c. in graphite: (r) [in blue pencil] LEONARD "RED" X [in blue pencil] JACKSON [underlined in blue pencil] holds ball of yarn / while his mother knits. His older brother / ARTHUR [underlined in blue pencil] X [in blue pencil] sketches. / Jackson (l) [in and underlined in blue pencil]

  • Credit Line

    Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

  • Accession Number


  • Copyright

    © The Gordon Parks Foundation

Object Description

At midcentury, magazines were the main path to photographic success and recognition. In 1948, a photo-essay by Gordon Parks called “Harlem Gang Leader” gained public acclaim, prompting Life to hire him as its first Black staff photographer. For the story, Parks spent weeks gaining the trust of Leonard “Red” Jackson, head of the Midtowners gang. He then documented Jackson’s complex world, where in one moment the teenager would be doing household chores and in the next holding war councils.

Parks had no control over the editing of the final photo-essay, which dwelt on violence and crime, de-emphasizing the neighborhood’s limited financial and educational opportunities and leaving out Jackson’s role as a community mediator who liaised with police and was named “Boy Mayor of Harlem.” In contrast, the hundreds of negatives Parks created reveal Jackson’s multifaceted life as containing violence but also love.

—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023)

Additional details

Location: Off view
See more by Gordon Parks


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