In the spirit of Great-Grandmother Sarah Parks, who I sat with at her resting place this past October, in Fort Scott, Kansas, I shall set the tone of this introduction text with a scripture reference.
“For such a time as this.” -Esther 4:14
It has been a blessing and a divine privilege to curate this historic visual experience, which joins generations of cultural visionaries and soul touchers.
On numerous occasions, Uncle Gordon and I discussed our concerns about youth and violence, and I witnessed his deep distress. During my last visit with him, before his passing, he asked, “What’s going to happen to Black boys? What did I really do?” I reminded him of the impact of his legacy and promised his living would not be in vain.
My first experience with Brother Jamel, was when he walked into an eatery on the north side of Minneapolis. A kindred spirit, our immediate conversation was about walking in the footsteps of Uncle Gordon and the wellness of young people. He stood as a towering, cool, hip, leather-coat wearing, Shaft-style beacon of light during his visit to Gordon Parks High School! During a dialogue with the students, they talked about challenges related to violence and racism. He encouraged them to shift the conversation to, “What does love look like in your life, in your community?” The responses left us heavyhearted, many couldn’t articulate love-related visions.
I hold in my heart all of my colleagues, our generous collectors, partners, supporters, family, and my husband. I’m extremely proud of my co-promise keepers the Gordon Parks High School scholar curators with dignity and love, they have honored the visions of Uncle Gordon and Brother Jamel… For such a time as this.
Robin Hickman-Winfield is the great-niece of legendary photographer Gordon Parks and CEO and Executive Producer of SoulTouch Productions. Hickman first collaborated with the M in 1998 on the landmark traveling exhibition Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks, helping to bring the show to St. Paul. She has returned to the M to organize a second project to celebrate and advance the legacy of her great-uncle.