Saturday, February 14, 2009

Black History Month Daily Thread

Oscar Micheaux


Oscar Devereaux Micheaux (2 January 1884 – 25 March 1951) was an American author and film director. Although predated by the short lived Lincoln Motion Picture Company that put out smaller films, he is regarded as the first African-American feature filmmaker, and the most prominent producer of race films.[1]

The advent of the motion picture industry intrigued him as a vehicle to tell his stories. He formed his own movie production company and in 1919 became the first African American to make a film. He wrote, directed and produced the silent motion picture The Homesteader, starring pioneering African-American actress Evelyn Preer, based on his novel of the same name. He again used autobiographical elements in The Exile, his first feature film with sound, in which the central character leaves Chicago to buy and operate a ranch in South Dakota. In 1924 he introduced the moviegoing world to Paul Robeson in his film, Body and Soul.

Given the times, his accomplishments in publishing and film are extraordinary, including being the first African American to produce a film to be shown in "white" movie theaters. In his motion pictures, he moved away from the "Negro stereotypes" being portrayed in film at the time. In his film Within Our Gates, Micheaux attacked the racism depicted in the D.W. Griffith film, The Birth of a Nation.

The Producers Guild of America called him "The most prolific black - if not most prolific independent - filmmaker in American cinema." Over his illustrious career, Oscar Micheaux wrote, produced and directed forty-four feature-length films between 1919 and 1948 and wrote seven novels, one of which was a national bestseller.

Oscar Micheaux Home Page

Oscar Micheaux at

Oscar Micheaux: The Great and Only: The Life of America's First Black Filmmaker by Patrick Mcgilligan

Writing Himself into History : Oscar Micheaux, His Silent Films, and His Audiences by Pearl Bowser (Author), Louise Spence (Author), Thulani Davis (Foreward)

A Century of Black Cinema (1997) - DVD

African American Cinema I, Oscar Micheaux's "Within Our Gates" (1919) (Library of Congress & Smithsonian Video) (1919) - VHS

Veiled Aristocrats (Directed by Oscar Micheaux) (1932)-DVD

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