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Gordon Parks mother died when he was 16 an event that changed his life and unexpectedly catapulted him into the world He moved to St Paul Minnesota to live with his sister and her family but to Gordons dismay he and his sisters husband got into a number of altercations Then after a brief period Parks was evicted by his brother-in-law and found himself trying to fend for himself while homeless in the middle of a cold Minnesota winter and with very little money For nearly a week he spent his nights riding the trolley line from St Paul to Minneapolis and back again Parks who demonstrated some musical talent even as a youngster eventually acquired a job playing the piano nightly in a brothel for tips He held the job for two years Then in 1929 he got a job as a busboy He said that he worked in a Minnesota club as a busboy in the day and as a general lackey at night He had an unbelievably strong desire to succeed and he became an avid reader at the clubs library However he was forced to seek employment again and to quit high school when the panic and depression the Great Depression set in Parks resumed his employment as a bordello pianist There he once said of himself The music I fed them was filled with my mood and it seemed to soothe their souls Friends began calling me Blue because of the blues I played One of the numbers frequently requested of Parks was No Love a song that he composed after an argument with his future wife Parks moved to Chicago for a brief while but he returned to St Paul where a white band leader Larry Funk heard Parks play his piece No Love Funk was taken by the music He not only played the song on national radio but he also invited Parks to join and travel
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