• Gordon Parks Festival...
    The first weekend in October!

    Watch the Gordon Parks Center website for updates and more details.

    Events celebrating the life of Gordon Parks will be scheduled Friday-Saturday, October 5th and 6th.

    The evening of Saturday, October 6th, there will be a dinner at Liberty Theatre honoring Roger E. Mosley.

    Schedule of Events

    Thursday October 4th

    PHOTO EXHIBIT in the Lunt Lobby of the Fine Arts Center.  The Merl Humphrey Photography-sponsored photo contest will be on display with the theme of “What Inspires Me.”  Winners will be announced at the Chamber Coffee.

    8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. — Ft. Scott Chamber of Commerce Coffee at the Gordon Parks Museum.

    10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. —“Leadbelly” film in the Gordon Parks Museum. FREE.


    Friday October 5th

    8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.: Registration open outside of Museum.

    9:05 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.: “Leadbelly and Irene: Heartbeat of the Musical Frontier” with Megan Felt.  Megan Felt, Program Director at the Lowell Milken Center in Fort Scott, created this short documentary on Huddie Ledbetter when she was a student at Uniontown High School.  FSCC Ellis Fine Arts Center/Gordon Parks Museum.  FREE

    10:05-11:30: “A Conversation with Roger Mosley.”  The 2018 “Choice of Weapons Award” honoree, Mr. Mosley played Huddie Ledbetter in the Gordon Parks-directed film “Leadbelly” and starred in the popular television series, “Magnum P.I.”  Discussion led by Karole Graham, Big Mabel in “The Learning Tree” and Laura May in “Leadbelly.”  FSCC Ellis Fine Arts Center/Theatre.  FREE

    12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.—Grab a sack lunch from the lobby ($8-purchase that day) and join us in the museum for PARKS POETRY OUT LOUD, sponsored by the Bourbon County Arts Council.  Poetry Out Loud is a contest & reading of selected poems of Gordon Parks.  ANYONE may enter.  No preregistration –just show up!  Prize money of $100 (First Place), $75 (Second Place), and $50 (Third Place). (The eight poems are on the gordonparkscenter.org website.)  FSCC Ellis Fine Arts Center/Gordon Parks Museum.  FREE

    2:00 p.m. Guided Trolley Tour of Gordon Parks’ Fort Scott.  Meet at the entrance of the FSCC Ellis Fine Arts Center.  See the places in Fort Scott that are part of Gordon Parks’ history.  Fee: $7.

    5:00 p.m.—Meet and Greet at Sharkey’s Pub.  Drop by and meet Roger Mosley and Karole Graham, “Big Mabel” in The Learning Tree.”

    7:00 p.m.Friday Night Concert in the Park featuring the music of blues guitarist Lem Sheppard, Heritage Park Pavilion at 1st and Main Street in downtown Fort Scott.  Food Vendors will be open at5:00 p.m.

    Bring your lawn chair! FREE

    Saturday, October 6th

    9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.Registration open outside of Museum.

    9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Kid’s Art Workshop--Art activities for kids age 5-12.  FSCC Ellis Fine Arts Center/Meeting Rooms.  Fee: $5-payable the day of the workshop.

    9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. – Dimensional Art Workshop-Museum $10  Participants will experience creating a one-of-a- kind piece of artwork using photography, pastels and/or watercolors.  The finished work will be printed on 11 x 17 paper.  Gordon Parks used this technique in his later years and created beautiful images by creating a background either with pastels, watercolor, etc.  He then used a found object, lit the entire scene on two levels and took a photograph of it.  FSCC Ellis Fine Arts Center/Gordon Parks Museum.  Fee: $10-payable the day of the workshop.

    12:00—1:30—Lunch on your own.

    1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – “Gordon Parks, Jazz, and Photography," with John Mason, Associate Professor, Associate Chair, University of Virginia Department of History. Mason is working on “Gordon Parks and American Democracy,” a book about the ways in which Parks’ Life magazine photo-essays on poverty and the black liberation struggle and the books that he published during the civil rights era made him one of the era’s most significant interpreters of the black experience. FREE

    3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.Guided Trolley Tour of Gordon Parks’ Fort Scott.  Meet at the entrance of the FSCC Ellis Fine Arts Center.  See the places in Fort Scott that are part of Gordon Parks’ history.  Fee: $7.                           

    7:00 p.m. – “Celebration Tribute Dinner.” Dinner and evening of tribute; presentation of the 2018 “Gordon Parks Choice of Weapons Award” to Roger E. Mosley and a Celebration 15th year Anniversary retrospective. Liberty Theatre, 113 S. Main.  All seats reserved. Fee: $30.00. (Reserve by Wed., Oct. 3)


    Sunday, October 7th

    10:00 a.m.—Breakfast at Nate’s Place.  Enjoy breakfast at one of Fort Scott’s finest!  Located on the corner of National & 8th Street, you’re sure to find something on the menu to please.    Check it out at: lyonstwinmansions.com/nates-place-restaurant. (No ticket required-everyone pays for their own)


    Roger E. Mosley, lead actor in “Leadbelly” film by Gordon Parks and Magnum P.I. star,
    to receive “Gordon Parks Choice of Weapons Award” at the 2018 Gordon Parks Celebration

    Roger E. Mosley, who played the title role in the Gordon Parks – directed film, “Leadbelly,” will be the recipient of the “Gordon Parks Choice of Weapons Award” at the annual Gordon Parks Celebration this October 5th & 6th, 2018 in Fort Scott, Kan.  The Gordon Parks Celebration, a component of the Gordon Parks Museum, was created in 2004 by Fort Scott Community College to honor Fort Scott native Gordon Parks, noted photographer, writer, musician, and filmmaker. 

    At the culmination of the first year’s events, the Choice of Weapons Award was established in Parks’ honor to be given annually at the Celebration.  Named after his autobiography of the same name, the award seeks to honor a recipient.  Previous recipients include actor and musician Avery Brooks, photographer Howard L. Bingham, Elizabeth Eckford and Ernest Green, two of the “Little Rock Nine,” Richard Roundtree, star of the Parks-directed film, “Shaft,” Nichelle Nichols of “Star Trek” fame, acclaimed actress Ruby Dee, photographer John Shearer, LIFE magazine photo editor Bobbi Burrows, Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum, musicians Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., editor Genevieve Young, filmmaker Kevin Willmott, and educator Bernadette Gray-Little.

    Roger Earl Mosley (born December 18, 1938) is a retired American actor, director and writer best known for his role as the helicopter pilot Theodore "T.C." Calvin in the television series, Magnum, P.I. from 1980-1988. Mosley was born in Los Angeles, California in the Watts neighborhood.   In 1974, he founded the Watts Repertory Company.

    Mosley played the title role in the 1976 film Leadbelly, chronicling the life of folk singer Huddie William Ledbetter (better known as "Lead Belly"). The film, directed by Gordon Parks, focuses on the troubles of Lead Belly's youth in the segregated South including his time in prison, and his efforts to use his music to gain release.

    In a review of the film by film critic Roger Ebert, “Leadbelly is known to everyone who knows American folk music. He wrote "The Midnight Special," "Rock Island Line," "Take this Hammer" and hundreds of other songs, and had an enduring, influence on our music. Near the end of his life, he was cheered in Carnegie Hall.”

    “Huddie Ledbetter is less well known. He killed at least two men, he spent long stretches of time on Texas chain gangs, he rode the rails and one of his first jobs was playing the guitar in a whorehouse. The remarkable achievement of Gordon Parks' "Leadbelly" is to give us both these men and to show us how one became the other.”

    Mosley has appeared in many movies and television shows.  He shared star billing with Nell Carter in the 1990 sitcom “You Take the Kids” then spent two seasons as Coach Ricketts on the ABC comedy weekly “Hangin' with Mr. Cooper.”

    He has guest-starred on such shows as “Night Court,” “Starsky and Hutch” “Kojak,” “The Rockford Files,” “Baretta,” and “Sanford and Son” among many others.  His film credits include McQ (1974) with John Wayne, The Greatest (1977, as Sonny Liston), Semi-Tough (1977), Heart Condition (1990) and Pentathlon (1994).

    He is the father of three children and lives in Los Angeles.  Mosley will be honored at a dinner at the Liberty Theatre in Fort Scott on Saturday, October 6th.   Ticket information and the full schedule will be posted on the website gordonparkscenter.org.  For more information email gordonparkscenter@fortscott.edu or by phone call 223-2700, ext. 5850.