11/14/2013 01:50 pm ET

Gordon Parks' Short Films Spotlight The Overlooked


"This is the story of a black man," director Gordon Parks says, staring into the camera. "Look at him and know that to destroy him is to destroy yourself."

The film is "Diary of a Harlem Family," a 20-minute documentary from 1968. Sitting beside Parks is a man named Norman Fontenelle. They are in Fontenelle's cramped Harlem apartment. Parks is dressed in a turtleneck and trench coat; Fontenelle wears a tweed jacket over a shirt buttoned up to the neck. There is a reason for this attire. The apartment is unheated. It is just one of many hardships the family endures.

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