Racial Bias in “Harlem Gang Leader”?

Racial Bias in “Harlem Gang Leader”?

Research photographer Gordon Parks and his “Harlem Gang Leader” Life magazine story spread from 1948. Write a minimum 5-page essay that makes a strong argument for or against the presence of racial bias in the photo story.

  • What was Park’s connection to Harlem and how might that have informed his desire to tell the story of Harlem’s gang wars?
  • How does the subject come across in the magazine?
  • Review the headline and captions and consider how they influence the viewer’s impression of Leonard “Red” Jackson?
  • Out of hundreds of negatives that Parks presented to his editors at Life, they selected and edited 21 images to tell the story of Leonard “Red” Jackson and his friends. Why do you think they chose the photographs that they did?
  • Do you think magazine editors could have biases toward certain kinds of images?
  • Did the editors alter the original images for publication? If so, how? What does this do to the subject?
  • Were the editorial choices and the messages they relayed in opposition with Parks’ intentions — or, even more importantly, to the truth of Jackson’s life?
  • Does the published photo-essay tell a different story from Gordon Park’s larger story?

-The body of your essay will be a minimum of 5 text pages: 1″ margins, 12-point font, double-spaced

-Images will be on separate pages in the essay

-Works cited page must include a minimum of 5 sources, excluding the one that I provided above.

-All images and sources must be properly cited using MLA format.

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