Black History Month 2022

'movies' - 12 results

Birth of A Nation Premiered



New York, New York - Birth of A Nation was shown, for the first time. It was also called the Clansman, from the 1905 book, and play, of the same name. It was about the Ku Klx Klan (KKK).

The movie was a fiction of the birth of the Ku Klux Klan. It was an all-white film. To present Black Americans, white actors appeared in blackface. Black people were shown as the bad guys. The KKK were shown as the heroes, to protect white society.

It was the first film shown inside the White House. The sitting President, Woodrow Wilson, invited his family, and his Cabinet to watch it. Wilson said, 'It is like writing history with lightning.'

The Enforcement Acts, of the early 1870s, reduced the KKK to almost nothing. It had been more than 40 years since the KKK was at its height, when the movie was released. When the film was shown for the first time, the KKK had almost no public presence. After the film, there was a massive increase in KKK activity. It lasted for decades, until World War 2 (1940s).

In 1870, a federal grand jury said the KKK was a terrorist group. With the release of this film, the KKK was reborn.


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King Kong Premiered



New York, New York - King Kong was shown for the first time. The movie was created in the middle of the Great Depression and Jim Crow.

King Kong was a story of a giant ape that whites found on a tropical island. The whites were there to film a movie, on location.

The whites chained the black ape and sent it to New York, to make money. The black ape was shown to whites, in a show. There the black ape became angered. King Kong broke his chains and attacked whites.

The black ape grabbed a white woman and climbed the Empire State Building. Whites sent the air force to kill the black ape and save the white woman. In the end, the white woman was saved and King Kong was dead.

Jack Johnson, the heavyweight boxing champion, was the model for the might and size of King Kong. The name Kong came from the Congo, in Africa. New York was a former slave trading port.


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Gone With The Wind Premiered



Atlanta, Georgia - The movie, Gone With The Wind, was shown for the first time, in public. The Black American actress, Hattie McDaniel, had a major role in the movie.

It was the story of a family of Georgia slave owners. It covered the time just before and after the Slavery War (or Civil War). The movie showed the enslavers as decent and hard-working. Many were made to be sympathetic, despite their use of forced labor.

Black Americans were only in the movie as slaves, in the pre-War period. After the war, Black Americans were shown as lazy or corrupt. The house slaves were shown as submissive, docile, childish, and obedient.

The story made slavery seem the same as a regular job. There were no whips, violence, hunger, or beatings against Black Americans, shown in the movie. McDaniel's role, as a house slave, was used against Black American women to show them as obese, bossy, loyal to her abusers, and hostile to Black American men.

McDaniel was given an Oscar Award for her role. She was not allowed to attend the ceremony because of her skin color. Instead, it was given to her in private.


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Song of the South Movie Premiered



Atlanta, Georgia - Walt Disney, with RKO Pictures, showed Song of the South at the Fox Theater. It was a fictional story that combined live action with animation, in a musical format. All of the Black American actors (live and animated) spoke in broken English. All the white actors spoke clearly and with confidence.

The setting was a slave plantation. The main character, was Uncle Remus, a slave. He told stories to the child of the white slaveowners family. All the Black American actors played slave roles in the movie. They played as happy, docile, obedient, and submissive. And, they were ready with a smile for their white enslavers.

On its release, many Black Americans denounced the movie as an insult to the true history of chattel slavery. Walt Disney ignored the advice of many Black Americans who tried to present a better image of Black Americans. Disney chose to embrace base racial stereotypes that were common, for the time.

Racist stereotypes included the Mammy, the Magic Negro, the 'happy slave' among many others. These are parts of the Lost Cause Myth.

The movie was a commercial success, in its first release. It was released again in 1972, and was the most profitable animation re-release, up to that time.

Source:

Song of the South Background

Song Of The South Full Movie 1972 Re-release


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Trick Baby Movie Premiered



Chicago, Illinois - Trick Baby was shown for the first time. The movie is notable for the dinner scene. In it, the movie exposed how politics is used to control Black Americans.


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The Spook Who Sat By The Door



New York, New York - 'The Spook Who Sat By The Door' movie was shown for the first time. It told the story of a Black American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee.

The CIA used him to showcase racial inclusion. He was put in a useless job, that made the CIA look good. He had other ideas and quit. With his training, he helped Black Americans wage a race war.


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The Color Purple Premiered



New York, New York - The Color Purple was shown for the first time in New York, New York. It was a work of fiction, based on a story by Alice Walker. Steven Spielberg directed the movie.

The movie starred Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg. From its release, the movie has been controversial and heavily criticized by Black Americans.

Some of the complaints, of the movie, were its racist stereotypes of Black American men as violent toward women. The Black American rapist stereotype was created by white males during Reconstruction to lynch (murder) and castrate Black American men.

Another complaint was that this fictional movie, which made Black American men as violent, was directed by a white male, Spielberg. Further, Spielberg already faced charges of racism from Asians. This was from his 1984 Indiana Jones movie.

There was the issue of sexual perversion in the movie. It showed Black American women as sexually deviant. Despite the story being about Black Americans, all the producers were white or homosexual.

The movie went into wide release, February 7, 1986. This was during Black History Month and after the first observance of Martin Luther King Day, as a Federal holiday.


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Soul Man Movie Released



The movie, Soul Man, was released in the United States. It was the story of a white man who used affirmative action to attend law school. This was the excuse to appear in blackface, in the movie.

The white man wanted to go to Harvard Law School. His father refused to pay for it. To get law school paid, he chose to use affirmative action. Since he was white, he had to pretend to be Black, to get the benefits.

The movie was criticized for its racist stereotypes of Black Americans, created by whites. It mocked affirmative action as the premise for the movie. The movie was almost forgotten after the 1980s.

Source:

Soul Man


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'Do the Right Thing' First Screening



Cannes, France - The movie 'Do The Right Thing' premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The movie showed the reasons race riots began in the United States, in the 1960s.

Source:

Do the Right Thing Los Angeles Premiere


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'Fight the Power' Released



New York, New York - 'Fight the Power' was released by Public Enemy, on the Motown Records label. It was created for the movie 'Do the Right Thing' by Spike Lee.


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Malcolm X Movie Released



New York, New York - Spike Lee released the film of the life of Malcolm X. It began with his youth as Malcolm Little. The movie showed his change into Detroit Red, and time in jail. Lastly, it covered his life as Malcolm X with the Nation of Islam, until his death, in 1965.

Denzel Washington played the lead role, as Malcolm X.


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'12 Years A Slave' Shown



Telluride, Colorado - '12 Years A Slave' was shown at the Telluride Film Festival.

The movie began with a 'free' Black American man, in 1841, in Washington D. C. He was put into slavery by two (2) white males. This lasted 12 years. Finally, he got word back to New York, of his bondage. He returned to New York, 12 years later.


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