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Exhibition Not an Ostrich: & Other Images from America's Library

Gordon Parks. American Gothic. Washington, D.C. government charwoman, 1942. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (37.00.00)
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GORDON PARKS. American Gothic. Washington, D.C., 1942

In his series, Ella Watson, U.S. Government Charwoman, Parks posed Watson in the manner of Grant Wood’s 1930 painting of Iowa farmers titled American Gothic. Parks “followed her for nearly a month—into her home, her church, and wherever she went.” Speaking later of this series Parks said, “What the camera had to do was expose the evils of racism, the evils of poverty, the discrimination and the bigotry, by showing the people who suffered most under it.”