One Read Week is Oct. 6-12

One Read Week and the rest of October bring several special events to One Minneapolis One Read, a community read in which everyone in Minneapolis is invited to read the same book and join the conversation. This year’s book is A Choice of Weapons by Gordon Parks. Parks, a photographer for Life magazine, writer, composer, artist, and filmmaker, was 16 when he moved from Kansas to Saint Paul in 1928.

5 p.m., Monday, Oct. 7 - Gallery reception and program. Meet Robin Hickman, great-niece of Gordon Parks; Wing Young Huie, author of the book’s foreword and photographer; and Steve Floyd, photographer. Hosted by Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman and Minneapolis City Council Member John Quincy. Hennepin County Government Center, Public Service Level.

6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8 - Screening of Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks. The HBO documentary will be followed by a panel discussion including the film's director Craig Rice, Parks' niece Robin Hickman, tpt filmmaker Daniel Bergin and The Loft Literary Center Associate Program Director Bao Phi. Minneapolis Central Library, Pohlad Hall.

3:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11 - Community photography workshop. Nationally acclaimed photographer Jamel Shabazz will conduct an interactive community photography workshop. RSVP required by Oct. 7. Juxtaposition Arts.*

6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 24 - Photography exhibit opening reception and panel discussion. Two exhibits will include photographic works by Gordon Parks on loan from the Gordon Parks Foundation and works by students participating in the One Minneapolis One Read photography residency at Juxtaposition Arts. The students will work with nationally acclaimed photographer Jamel Shabazz using inspiration from Gordon Parks. RSVP required. Mill City Museum.*

Visit for more information on these and many other One Minneapolis One Read events.

Read the book

This compelling autobiography, first published in 1966, tells how Parks managed to escape the poverty and bigotry around him and launch his distinguished career by choosing the weapons given to him by "a mother who placed love, dignity, and hard work over hatred."

Gordon Parks (1912-2006) – photographer for Life magazine, writer, composer, artist and filmmaker – was only 16 in 1928 when he moved from Kansas to Saint Paul after his mother's death. There, homeless and hungry, he began his fight to survive, to educate himself, and to "prove my worth." Working as a janitor, railroad porter, musician and basketball player in Saint Paul, Chicago and New York, Parks struggled against poverty and racism. He taught himself photography with a secondhand camera, worked for black newspapers, and began to document the poverty among African-Americans on Chicago's South Side. Then his photographic work brought him to Washington, D.C., as first a photographer with the federal Farm Security Administration and later a war correspondent during World War II.

One Read

At its heart, One Minneapolis One Read is a community-driven effort with individuals, neighborhood groups, educators, businesses and nonprofits all coming together to make this a truly citywide read.

A Choice of Weapons is available in paperback at local independent and chain bookstores, online booksellers and Minnesota Historical Society Press. It’s also available through Hennepin County Library.

Join the conversation: get involved

Join in an existing event or plan your own. Neighborhood groups, book clubs, libraries, literary centers and others can get involved by holding public events where folks can come together to discuss the book.

The City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County Library and Minneapolis Public Schools are promoting literacy and respectful public dialogue in this initiative. Minneapolis residents can play a positive role in their communities and explore important – sometimes difficult – issues that they face as a community by reading A Choice of Weapons and getting involved.

One Minneapolis One Read is a collaboration of the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County Library and Minneapolis Public Schools with support from Clear Channel Outdoor, Comcast, Gray Plant Mooty, Mill City Museum, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Minnesota Historical Society Press, Pillsbury House Theatre and the YWCA of Minneapolis.

Published Oct 3, 2013



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