Call#: Van Pelt Library PN1998.3.M494 O83 2001
The 14 essays in this book cover a range of topics, from overviews of black American performance and cinema, to detailed analyses of Micheaux films, to thoughtful discussions of the work and impact of other groups of African American performers and filmmakers. The essays are lively and readable, casting light on an underrepresented facet of American film history. These essays shed light not only on Micheaux's films but also on his immense influence on other filmmakers, actors, and writers. What these authors have to say will fascinate the general public as well as scholars in the fields of film studies, cultural studies, and African-American history. This thoroughly readable collection is a superb reference work illustrated with rare photographs.
This book is the best resource on all things regarding Oscar Micheaux, but primarily with two essays in the Oscar Micheaux section. The first is by Michele Wallace, entitled “Oscar Micheaux’s Within Our Gates: The possibilities for alternative visions” this essay focuses on stereotypes in the film and how it tries to subvert them. In order to understand what Oscar Micheaux has to say about race, the author tries to progress from the black stereotypes in Birth of a Nation, and then explains how they fit into Within Our Gates. He explains historian Donald Bogle’s list of black stereotypes and goes on to discuss blackface, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and other important films regarding race. While Micheaux follows some conventions in narration according to the author, he still uses his portrayals of blacks in the film as a tool of opposition. Overall, it is a very useful essay in particular in its breakdown of African American society shown by Micheaux.