Books: Armed with a Camera

A CHOICE OF WEAPONS by Gordon Parks. 274 pages. Harper & Row. $4.95.

"If a white boy can do it, so can you," Gordon Parks's mother once told him. "So don't ever give me your color as a cause for failing."

Though he was often tempted to cop the color plea, Parks instead searched for ways to win and, extravagantly endowed with talent, he found them. He became a professional basketball player with a showboating Negro team called the House of David, a songwriter whose tunes were broadcast on the networks, the author of a favorably...