Black and Silent

      Oscar Micheaux, the son of slaves, was the first African-American to make a movie. He started his own production company in 1919 in order to make a film version of his novel, THE HOMESTEADER, and he filmed it in the silent movie capital of the world, South Dakota. (??) Anyone interested can watch a 7-minute selection of THE HOMESTEADER at

     Micheaux went on to make 44 films, most of which he wrote, produced, and directed himself and all of which used black actors and actresses. His second film, WITHIN OUR GATES (1920) was a pointed rebuttal of D. W. Griffith’s epic BIRTH OF A NATION that glorified the Ku Klux Klan.

     Film historians consider Micheaux to have been 50 years ahead of his time. I stumbled across him while researching the black vaudeville circuit (something I’m including in my next novel). Micheaux has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Read more about him at




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