God's Step Children (1938)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Early Black Cinema  |   Run Time - 65 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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A light-skinned African-American girl, Naomi (Jacqueline Lewis), denounces her own race in this controversial melodrama produced, written, and directed by prolific black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. As a baby, Naomi was left by her mother at the home of a widow, Mrs. Saunders, and much confusion arose as to whether the child was black or white. When Naomi reaches her primary school years, she demostrates an intense hatred of blacks and attempts to ingratiate herself into white circles, eliciting accusations of aloofness from other children. Eventually, schoolteacher (Ethel Moses) takes umbrage to the girl's statement that "God didn't make Negroes" ("we're all God's children," Mrs. Cushinberry insists), Naomi spreads a false rumor that the teacher is having an affair with a married professor. A riot ensues, and Naomi is shipped off to a convent by her distraught mother (Alice B. Russell, Micheaux's wife). Returning to the family farm years later, a grown-up Naomi (Gloria Press) falls for her step-brother Jimmie (Carmen Newsome) and when she can't have him, ties the knot with a dark-skinned farmer whom she doesn't love and brands as "ugly" - leading to a disastrous marriage and a tragic fate for Naomi.