Pioneers of African-American Cinema

It's arrived -- thanks in part to a successful Kickstarter campaign, this nearly comprehensive compendium of American 'Race Films' is here in a deluxe Blu-ray presentation. Pioneers of African-American Cinema Blu-ray Kino Classics 1915-1946 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 952 min. / Street Date July 26, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 99.95 Directed by Richard Norman, Richard Maurice, Spencer Williams and Oscar Micheaux

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Black Cinema History? We didn't hear a peep about any such thing back in film school. Sometime in the 1980s PBS would broadcast a barely watchable (see sample just below) copy of a creaky silent 'race movie' about a 'backsliding' black man in trouble with the law, the Lord and his wife in that order. The cultural segregation has been almost complete. It wasn't until even later that I read articles about a long-extinct nationwide circuit of movie theaters catering to black audiences, wherever the populations were big enough to support the trade.
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