Fact 14: Oscar Micheaux

 

Oscar Micheaux was born in Illinois and grew up in Great Bend, Kansas. In his early 20’s he purchased land in South Dakota and he homesteaded with white people. During that time he wrote books. His first book titled The Conquest: The Story of a Negro Pioneer in 1913. After losing his land, due to a regional drought, he moved to Sioux City, Iowa. While being there, he started his own publishing company titled The Western Book Supply Company. In 1917, he releases his second book title The Homesteader, then his third book, which was a sequel to the book, titled The Forged Note.

Oscar sold his second book by going door-to-door of white owners and some he did business with. The book was about African Americans life In the west. It was such a successful book at the time, that it was created into a movie. At first movie producers confronted him about producing the film BUT they would not let him direct the film and the money was not in his expectations, so he opted out. Oscar started selling stock to raise money for the production of the film. Once that was done, he started filming and it was released in February of 1919 in Chicago, Illinois; making his the first African American to produce a film.

 

photo credit: blackpast.org

 

His third film, Within The Gates, was a response to a movie named Birth of A Nation, directed by D.W. Griffith.  The response movie was  about worshiping the Ku Klux Kan. Oscar’s wanted to show in his film, a more truthful aspect of White Supremacy. The movie is about a biracial woman who travels up North to raise money for a school that attended black people.The movie did show the lynching of black people and an individual who is selling out his race.

Oscar made a total of 33 films and even worked with James Earl Jones father Rober Earl Jones. His last movie hebfilmed was in 1948, titled The Betrayal. He will forever be remember as “A Man Ahead of His Time.”

 

photo credit: projects.latimes.com

 

 

 

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