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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

Oscar Micheaux Movie Poster

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Unknown, MOVIE POSTER FOR THE EXILE (1931). Courtesy of the Micheaux Film Corp./Photofest.

Creator Unknown
Context Leading up to the Depression, the nation had a thriving black cinema.
Audience African American movie goers
Purpose Micheaux’s films were often a direct response to biased portrayals of blacks by mainstream filmmakers.

Historical Significance

Oscar Micheaux was a pioneer in the movie industry, producing 48 films for African American audiences. In 1918, Micheaux produced Homesteader, the first full-length African American movie. In 1931, Micheaux successfully made the leap from silent films to talkies with The Exile. Micheaux's films featured African American casts in melodramas, comedies, musicals, and Westerns. Micheaux also tackled controversial topics in such films as Within Our Gates, where a Southern white mob lynched an African American sharecropper and his wife. In promoting his films, Micheaux marketed his actors as the equivalent of Hollywood superstars.


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