Oscar Micheaux was the Jackie Robinson of film, the black D. W. Griffith—a bigger-than-life American folk hero whose important life story has been nearly forgotten today. The son of freed slaves, he roamed America as a Pullman porter before making his first mark as a homesteader in South Dakota—and going on from there to become the king of the "race cinema" industry, producing and/or directing nearly forty films during a time of Jim Crow segregation when African-American artists were not welcome in Hollywood.
In this groundbreaking new biography, award-winning film historian Patrick McGilligan offers a vivid and fascinating portrait of a true pioneer of American culture who was equal parts visionary, hustler, huckster, innovator, and raffish Barnum-like showman—and the first great African-American filmmaker.
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