In honor of Black History Month we at Reel Reality will bring light to the History of Black Cinema.
Oscar Micheaux, was the first African American to produce a feature length film (The Homesteader, 1919) and a sound feature length film (The Exile, 1931). Known as “The Dean” of black cinema, Micheaux was an author, film director and producer of more than 40 films.
Micheaux first film “The Homesteader” was based off of his novel originally named “The Conquest: The Story of a Negro Pioneer.” To produce his own movies he founded his own production company Micheaux Film and Book Company in 1919.
Micheaux films, normally called “race films,” not only featured non-stereotypical black characters but they addressed controversial issues. Micheaux’s second film “Within Our Gates,” was his response to D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation,” a film that glorified the Ku Klux Klan. Micheaux challenged the films message by showing the reality of racism that whites were more likely to harm blacks, by lynching and exploiting them, than the other. Micheaux’s early work was a radical departure from Hollywoods racist portrayal of African Americans at that time.
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