Burden of Race (1921)

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Produced by Reol, one of the largest suppliers of African-American screen entertainment in the early '20s, this political melodrama starred Lawrence Chenault as a young man who excels in both athletic and scholarly pursuits. Unfortunately, Chenault falls in love with a girl not of his race, and according to the film's press book, "between them stretched a mighty chasm." Burden of Race featured an "all-star" cast of African-American performers that included Edna Morton (in her screen debut) Percy Verwayen, Mabel Young, Elizabeth Williams, and Arthur Ray. Founded by white New York businessman Robert Levy in 1920, Reol Productions stayed in business for four years.