Date Thesis Awarded

4-2017

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

History

Advisor

David Brown

Committee Member

Jody Allen

Committee Member

Arthur Knight

Abstract

One of the most successful African American filmmakers of the twentieth century, Oscar Micheaux, stood testament to this vibrant community as well as the intersections of mass media and black America. For over three decades, his motion pictures and novels fought “against [the] white racist caricature and stereotype” of black culture that permeated American society. The newspapers were integral to Micheaux’s professional successes and failures. As a director and pioneer of black cinema he was vital to sustaining and promoting black popular culture, and contextualizing the experiences of his audiences is key to understanding this period.

Since no extensive research details his connection to the black press throughout his entire career, this thesis serves as a case study on the evolution of Micheaux's popularity and press coverage during his silent film and sound film career. Ultimately, a detailed analysis of the relationship between Micheaux and contemporary black newspapers sheds light on the trends of his career and serves as a reflection of African American audiences' reception and opinions of early twentieth-century cinema.

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