African-American Firsts: Artists
Browse our collection of African-American Firsts: Artists, including Gordon Parks, Edmonia Lewis, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Barbara Brandon, Simmie Knox and E. Simms Campbell. Explore full biographies, photo galleries, videos and more, only at Biography.com.
Photographer, Director, Songwriter, Pianist, Writer / 1912 - 2006
Famed photographer Gordon Parks became the first African American to direct, write, score and co-produce a major Hollywood film with 1969's The Learning Tree—the plot of which was based on Parks's semi-autobiographical book of the same name. Parks is also the first African-American photographer to be hired by TIME magazine (check wording on this one).
Henry Ossawa Tanner
Painter / 1859 - 1937
Henry Ossawa Tanner is known as the first African-American painter to gain international fame. He is also regarded as the first African American to be made a full academician of the National Academy of Design.
E. Simms Campbell
Illustrator, Writer / 1906 - 1971
Illustrator/writer E. Simms Campbell, known particularly for his illustrations for Esquire magazine, was the first African-American syndicated cartoonist.
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Learn more about the lives of African-Americans who have made extraordinary achievements in their fields, with our collection of Black History Groups.
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Flip through these photos of some of Black History's most important, controversial and inspiring figures. Check out our African-American Firsts - Athletes, Black Comedians, Million-Dollar Ideas, African-American Biopics, African-American Expats, or explore all of our Black History photos.
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