November 30, 1912 – Gordon Parks is born in Fort Scott, Kansas.
May 9, 1928 – Parks moves to St. Paul after his mother dies to live with his sister, Maggie Lee, and her husband.
Winter 1928-1929 – Parks’s brother-in-law kicks him out of the house, leaving him homeless.
1929 – Parks moves in with another sister, Lillian, and later stays at a boarding house in St. Paul.
1930-1934 – Parks works various jobs in the Twin Cities, including as a busboy at the Minnesota Club (4th Street and Cedar Street in St. Paul), the St. Paul Hotel (350 N. Market Street in St. Paul), the Lowry Hotel (Wabasha Street N and W 4th Street in St. Paul), and the Curtis Hotel (327 10th Street S in Minneapolis)
February-March 1933 – Parks travels to New York with a band and stays in Harlem for six weeks.
April 1933 – Parks joins the Civilian Conservation Corps and is based in New Jersey.
July 1934 – Parks quits the CCC and moves back to Minneapolis with his wife, Sally Alvis.
1937 – Parks comes across a photography magazine while working on the North Coast Limited route of the Northern Pacific Railway, and is inspired to by a camera and pursue a career in photography.
February 13, 1938 – Parks shows his work in a symposium, “Race Relations in the United States Today,” during the Interracial Week at the Phyllis Wheatley House in Minneapolis.
March 25, 1938 – The St. Paul Recorder publishes Parks’s photograph of popularity contest entrants.
October 1938 – Parks divorces his wife and moves in with his sister in St. Paul.
October 28, 1938 – Parks’s portrait of Beatrice Franklin Boyd is published in St. Paul Recorder and Minneapolis Spokesman.
November 18, 1938 – Parks’s picture of members of the Cameo-Elite-Credjafawn Clubs’ Christmas benefit is published in Minneapolis Spokesman.
November 25, 1938 – Parks receives his first solo exhibition in the “Fine Arts Salon” at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in St. Paul.
Spring 1939 – Parks and Sally Alvis remarry and move to a small apartment in St. Paul.
April 7, 1939 – Parks is hired as a staff photographer at the St. Paul Recorder.
April 21-23, 1939 – Parks works as a publicity photographer for the Festival of Nations in St. Paul and participates in the Negro Art Exhibit (showing his picture We’re Not Quite as Old as He).
May 19-August 18, 1939 – Parks’s photographs are published regularly in the St. Paul Recorder and Minneapolis Spokesman.
August 24, 1939 – Parks shows two photographs in an exhibition of Minnesota artists organized by the Baptist Young People’s Union.
October 1939 – Frank and Madeline Murphy hire Parks to photograph the latest fashions at Frank Murphy’s department store in St. Paul. Marva Louis (model, singer, and then wife of Boxer Joe Louis) sees the photographs and encourages Parks to move to Chicago.
November 24, 1939 – Parks’s picture of Rhoda Lee Escue is published in St. Paul Recorder and Minneapolis Spokesman.
July-September 1940 – Parks exhibits work in the American Negro Exposition in Chicago (including Hilda, Saturday Night in Harlem, Gone are the Days, and To Die or Not).
August 4, 1940 – St. Paul Pioneer Press publishes Hilda, Saturday Night in Harlem, and Gone are the Days from the American Negro Exposition in Chicago.
April 1941 – Parks moves to Chicago to pursue fashion photography with the help of Marva Louis.