THE CINEMA CRUSADE OF

 

An irrepressible self-made man, a disciple of Booker T. Washington's philosophy of self-reliance and acheivement, Micheaux kept re-inventing himself, as Pullman porter, homesteader in South Dakota, self-published author, and filmmaker, all before 1920.  As the motion picture was evolving from the nickelodeon into an industry, Micheaux inevitably became an admirer of the early two, then three and four reeler films of  D.W. Griffith. He was greatly impressed with the director's prodigious craft as "film author".  Micheaux was also keenly aware of the growing stereotypes and negative images of his race coming to vivid life on the screen.

 

Then, in 1915, the country was thunderstruck by the premiere of Griffith's epic "The Birth Of A Nation", a paean to the glories of the antebellum South, and the struggles of one family through the horrible changes brought on by the Civil War and Reconstruction. Micheaux was both bowled-over by the film's scope and power, and  appalled by its depiction of blacks. It is fair to say he was even traumatized by the experience of   Hollywood's first great film.

In Mister Byrd's one-man play THE CINEMA CRUSADE OF OSCAR MICHEAUX,   he lets his man tell his own story of how he felt compelled to become a writer, director and producer of his own films through his Micheaux Pictures Corporation.

[More material provided on request]

 

 

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