The late Harlem photographer Gordon Parks never shied from puncturing a black cultural stereotype or a black American icon. When Muhammad Ali died in 2016, the New York Times in their obituary ran not the famous photo of the champ standing in triumph over a fallen opponent, but Parks’s intense, vulnerable close-up of Ali’s sweating face during a training session—a champ, and a man, in progress. When Parks made his 1971 film Shaft, some dismissed it as “blaxpoitation,” but its empowered black action hero was trailblazing, not to mention that Parks was the first black director to make a Hollywood movie. These images and many more that are now iconic—think of the Harlem photographs of the Fontanelle family in Life, a deliberate provocation of racist white America, or his portraits in the Deep South—are part of black history now because Parks embedded himself deep in it. Here, revisit some of Parks’s famous images in honor of Black History Month. But, really, they’re always there right beneath the surface waiting to bubble up, as they did in Kendrick Lamar’s 2017 music video for “ELEMENT.”, which recreates slides 1 and 9—and the entire essence of Parks’s work.