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The working title of this film was Learn, Baby, Learn. According to contemporary sources, the picture was filmed on location in and around Fort Scott, KS.
The Learning Tree marked the feature-film debut of director-writer Gordon Parks (30 November 1912-7 March 2006), a pioneering filmmaker who was the first African-American still photographer for Life magazine. Parks was also a well-respected composer, artist and author. His next film as a director, 1971's Shaft (see below), is widely regarded as one of the first examples of the Blaxploitation genre. In 1989, The Learning Tree was one of the first twenty-five films selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress.