Gordon Parks - Mother and Child, Mobile, Alabama, 1956
GORDON PARKS (1912-2006)
Mother and Child
Mobile, Alabama 1956
Print in Colors
10" x 8" (Image Size)
Mother and Child, Mobile, Alabama was taken by Parks while documenting the Jim Crow South for a Life magazine pictorial essay, “The Restraints: Hidden and Open,” in 1956. It shows a mother with her three young children at the doorway of a wooden structure, possibly their house.
In the pictorial essay and his related series of photographs, Segregation Story, Parks focused on Shady Grove, near Mobile, Alabama, a segregated neighborhood. Parks chose to feature the largely African American community going about their daily lives. In this photograph, the woman rinses her hands under a faucet, while her children stand and sit at their mother’s side. Inside the doorway, there is a table covered in a brightly colored tablecloth and few plates and cups. Parks aimed to highlight the racial and economic injustices of the 1950s by creating images that spoke to Black and white Americans, such as scenes from daily life, including this photograph. Parks wanted magazine readers to relate to the people represented in his photographs, even as he revealed that the people in his photographs lived without the opportunities available to white Americans.