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Race and Motion Pictures of the Twentieth Century

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Vivi Tran

on 11 January 2014

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Transcript of Race and Motion Pictures of the Twentieth Century

-Uncle Tom
-good and simple minded

-The coon
-source of entertainment, lacks intelligence
-The tragic mulatto
-mixed white and black background
Race and Motion Pictures of the
Twentieth Century

Films during the 1910s-20s
-The African Americans represented 10% of the population in the United States.

-The establishment of the NAACP.

-Cinema theaters were segregated; most films were geared toward the white audience.

1930s - 1940s:
Depression and More War!
1930: The Great Depression

1939: World War II

1948: Executive Order 9981
"It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be
equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.
1950s - 1960s:
Civil Rights Movement
- Theme of integration

- Endorsement of a civil-rights political agenda

- Inconsistent response to racial change
within Hollywood industry

- Catalyst: Black Nationalism and Blaxploitation cinema
The Roles of Race: 1970s-Present
70s: The influence of Black Power in cinema
80s: Blaxploitation
90s: The urban gangster/rap films
21st Century: Irrelevance of race
Examples of African American characters in white films:
Examples of African American
characters in white films:
-The black buck
-angry, violent, and vengeful
-first introduce in the movie
The Birth of a Nation
The Black Film Industry:

The Birth of a Nation
-The film gained more publicity.

The Realization of a Negro's

Black Power
An integral step of integration
Black and White Films, by Whites ft. Blacks
Blacks servants
The Littlest Rebel (1935)
Shirley Temple, as the precious young belle, Eva, and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson as her "servant" pal, Tom
Source: http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/interpret/exhibits/morgan/morgan.html
Mohammed Shafi
Monica Nguyen

White righteousness
Vivi Tran
Briana James
Team 3: Race and Motion Pictures
Judge Priest (1934)
"I saved you from one lynching already?"
(1) To explore the portrayal of blacks in American movie theaters as well as (2) analyze the relationship of these portrayals and the historical context of the time
- 1910s-1920s
- 1930s-1940s
- 1950s-1960s
- 1970s-Present
Source: http://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft5h4nb36j&chunk.id=d0e9761&toc.depth=1&brand=ucpress
White Cargo (1930)
American Actress, Gypsy Rhoumaje, portraying African temptress, Tondeleyo
Taboo love interests
Source: http://www.jazzageclub.com/personalities/gypsy-rhoumaje/
Race Films
Films that were produced by blacks, casting blacks, watched by blacks
Low budget
Stylistic "errors"
In-group cultural references
Implicit & explicit critiques of racism
Early: NAACP pressures Hollywood

Mid: Migration of blacks North

Late: Federal agenda for desegregation
"...knowing that there was something about us up there on that screen, controlled by us, created by us -
our own image, as we saw ourselves.
"There were black people behind the scenes, telling our black stories to us as we sat in black theaters. We listened blackly, and a beautiful thing happened to us as we saw ourselves upon the screen."
Anything but Hitler
Positive, albeit one-dimensional portrayals of black characters in films
Pinky (1949)
Home of the Brave (1949)
Lost Boundaries (1949)
Intruder in the Dust (1949)
"These films are not about Negroes at all,
they are about what whites think and feel about Negroes.

Intruder in Dust is "the only of the four in which Negros can make a complete identification with their screen image."

- Ralph Ellison
Intruder in the Dust (1949)
Lucas Beauchamp, a rare and dignified black screen character free from stereotype and caricature
Chick Mallison questions his own whiteness
Chick's uncle John pronounces Lucas Beauchamp as "insufferable" and "the keeper of my conscience"
Cannot imagine black identity as something entirely independent from white needs and desires
Source: http://blog.nuraypictures.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/The-Birth-of-a-Nation.jpg
Source: http://amherststudent.amherst.edu/sites/default/files/field/image/12%2520yrs.jpg
"Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud!"
Ossie Davis
one of the first African American Hollywood directors
"I remember going to see some of those films as a child, and I wanted to flee the theater."
Gordon Parks
African American director,
The Learning Tree (1969) and Shaft (1971)
Younger generation of black Americans
Racial tensions
Black pride and militancy
(Gordon Parks, 1971)
Increased visibility of black actors
Colorful language, fashion, music
Higher focus on sex, drugs, and violence
Overlooks black empowerment
"Who's the man that would risk his neck for his brother man? SHAFT! Right On!"
Main character
Strong, sensual black man
Met violence with violence
A hero for black community
The exploitation of blacks by producers of black-oriented films
The Focus of Ghetto Life
Low income communities
Drugs, gangs, and violence
Stigmatized black Americans
Boyz in the Hood
(1991 John Singleton)
Coming of age story of the black male
Uses rap music to connect with youth
Revives awareness of social and economic issues for black Americans
"One out of every twenty- one black Americans males will be murdered in their lifetime"
- Shared screen time
- Diversity in character development
- Push to reduce stereotypes of black people
- Sidney Poitier: the integrationist hero
- Events undermining racial
barriers in Hollywood
- Continuation of integration
- More character development
- Greater family involvement*

Social influences of technology
Trend of black American portrayal and its relation to race.
Offers better understanding of black American history

Sidney Poitier
- Worked to achieve an integrated American Dream

- No Way Out (1950)
- Edge of the City (1957)
The Defiant Ones
A Raisin in the Sun
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
The Discrepancy
- Film production
- Thoughts on race controversy
-Studio heads

21st Century and Race
- Struggles for manhood and cares for family
- Stands up against a racist housing association
The shock
The acceptance
- Prisoners chained together
- Must get along
- Comparison to
Edge of the City
Django Unchained
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