Synopsis by Steve Blackburn
Oscar Micheaux (1884-1951) wrote, produced, and directed over 40 movies, yet most white moviegoers have never heard of this man who has been called the "dean of early black American cinema." This is because in the days of segregation the black film industry operated as a movie business parallel to Hollywood, and white Americans rarely saw its product. Written by Clyde Taylor and directed by Bestor Cram and Pearl Bowser, this documentary originally aired as an episode of the PBS television series The American Experience. Narrated by James Avery, the program recounts the history of the black film industry from 1910 to the 1940s. Highlights include a profile of Oscar Micheaux, film footage from rare movies, and commentary by various people including actress Edna Mae Harris, author Toni Cade Bambara, historian Robert Hall, actor Herb Jeffries, and others.