‘A Choice of Weapons’ selected for Minneapolis’ third community read

Gordon Parks' autobiography “A Choice of Weapons” has been selected as the next One Minneapolis One Read book. This will be the third year of the citywide “read,” where the entire community is encouraged to read a single book and join in a community conversation about the issues raised by that book.

To help identify books that would be a good choice for the community read, the public submitted more than 300 recommendations. “A Choice of Weapons” was among the titles that came from the public.

About the book

This year’s book selection, 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 him by "a mother who placed love, dignity, and hard work over hatred."

"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.

About the author

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, Minn., 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, or basketball player in such places as 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.

Join the conversation

You can get involved by reading the book with your family, school, workplace or book club. This fall, there will be events and opportunities to join in conversations about the book.

About One Read

One Minneapolis One Read is a collaboration of the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County Library and Minneapolis Public Schools in partnership with Tom Braun, Clear Channel Outdoor, Comcast, GoKart Labs, Gray Plant Mooty, Guthrie Theater, Kelber Catering, KFAI Radio, kreativesmith, Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P. Attorneys at Law, The Loft Literary Center, McFarland Communications, McGrann Shea Carnival Straughn & Lamb Chartered, Metro Transit, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, the Minneapolis Convention Center, The Minneapolis Foundation, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minnesota Historical Society Press, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), Rain Taxi, The Federal Reserve and the YWCA of Minneapolis.

For more information and to get involved, visit www.OneMinneapolisOneRead.com, www.facebook.com/OneMinneapolisOneRead, www.twitter.com/minneapolisread or email [email protected]. 

The first One Minneapolis One Read book selection was “The Grace of Silence,” a memoir describing the experience of the first black family to move onto a block in a south Minneapolis neighborhood in the 1960s. Last year, the One Read book selection was “Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past,” an exploration of American Indian history and culture.


Published Apr 24, 2013



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