Why Has Hollywood Still Not Given Pioneering Black Filmmaker Oscar Micheaux His Due?

Why Has Hollywood Still Not Given Pioneering Black Filmmaker Oscar Micheaux His Due?
Black filmmakers have struggled for representation as long as the movies have existed. As Hollywood took shape in the early half of the 20th century, Black directors were already looking for ways to push back on prevailing stereotypes. From the “uplift” films of the 1910s, produced via initiatives at the Tuskegee and Hampton Institutes, to the naturalistic shorts made by William Foster in Chicago, and the work of the Lincoln Motion Picture Company — the first Black-owned film production enterprise in the United States — there was no shortage of examples.

The most prolific and tireless voice during this period was Oscar Micheaux, who blazed trails in Black American cinema beginning with his 1919 feature debut, “The Homesteader,” the first feature film written and directed by an African American. It’s been 90 years since he became the first Black filmmaker to produce a sound feature film with “The Exile;” it’s been 70 years since his death.
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