بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum Ma Black Bebies!
So, you know I’m quite the Black Historian.
Well, I’m also into film production.
And, if you combine the two
Brother Oscar was the first Blackman to produce a full-length feature film.
He was born in 1884 in Illinois.
Moved to Chicago when he was seventeen and worked several jobs including a Pullman Porter.
*Side note – As a Black historian, I’ve heard of the “Pullman Porters” on SEVERAL occasions. I just wrote about “Emperor Jones“, wherein the lead character goes off to be a Pullman Porter and what a joyous occasion it is. But I had no idea it was just a continuation of slavery. This pissed me off. I see it in New Orleans. One day I was in The French Quarter and I went in a bar to get some water and those full grown Black men were doing nothing but serving devils and looking at me crazy. I will be so glad to see the day when the Blackman figures out he can work for himself. He doesn’t have to be a servant any longer. Please Read MESSAGE TO THE BLACKMAN IN AMERICA and get a clue.
But back to Brother Oscar…
Sometime in the beginning of the twentieth century, he moved to South Dakota and started homesteading. I’m a country girl at heart and one day would like to own my own farm. So, you know I’ve heard of homesteading but wasn’t completely sure of what it is. So, I YT’d it and basically, I think it’s just farming but on a smaller level. Like just for your own family as opposed to producing one or more types of crops to sell to make money (cash crops). You just produce what you need for your family. At least that’s what it is now.
Back then, it was this.
(This pissed me off too because they know they were supposed to give us our forty acres and mule upon emancipation but instead, they decide they’re going to give EVERYBODY the opportunity to own land and offer it for “low prices” which was still too much for the newly freed slaves. So we still end up with nothing! And have to suffer the humiliation of watching other people get the land that was designated for us! They STILL do that. Show me something that is Just For Black People! I’ll wait. Wasn’t NOBODY in this country slaves but Black People but we can’t get no type of retribution that’s just for us!!! See how they do us????!!!!!! I’m still waiting. Leave a comment. )
So anyway, on a personal sidenote, one day I would like to own a farmhouse with a lake or creek or some type of body of water in the backyard or somewhere, with a yellow cow and some laying hens, a cat or two or three or four or more and an apiary. So I can have an endless supply of milk and honey and C.R.E.A.M.!!!!
(Shout out to Mister Mef with the jail-issued toothbrush LOL)
(I swear it seems like I watch this video at least once a month. I really love CREAM! 😉 )
Anyway, while Brother Oscar was homesteading he started writing. He self-published an autobiographical novel in 1913, entitled The Conquest, The Story of A Negro Pioneer which I think is gonna piss me off because he had an affair with a devil and he probably put it in the novel. He also wrote articles that were published in the Chicago Defender Newspaper.
In 1915, he moved to Sioux City, Iowa after a drought caused him to lose his land OR his wife ran off with his money and her father sold his land and kept the money while he was away. (I’ve heard both )
In 1917 he established his own publishing company: The Western Book Supply Company and wrote two more books: 1915’s The Forged Note and 1917’s sequel to The Conquest, The Homesteader. He also wrote four more books (The Wind From Nowhere, The Case Of Mrs. Wingate, The Story of Dorothy Stanfield and The Masquerade) in the forties, shortly before his death. I can’t find any links for these last four. Sorry. I looked.
In 1918, Brother Oscar was approached by The Lincoln Motion Picture Company – an all-Black film production company – that was the first to produce films portraying Black people in non-stereotypical but rather, wholesome and morally upright roles – who wanted to produce a film version of his book, The Homesteader but they would not agree to Brother Oscar’s terms that he be allowed to direct the film nor the amount of money allocated to produce the film.
So Brother Oscar sold stock in his NEW company The Micheaux Film & Book Company and produced the film himself.
It premiered in Chicago, a hub of Black life in America at the time, in February 1919.
Our Brother Oscar Micheaux went on to produce over forty films. I happened to watch two of them (finally 😉 ) today on YouTube. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the first one because it was entitled, “Lying Lips” and I thought the morality and integrity of the players would be questionable. But I really dug it!
I was not expecting it to be so heavily based on music, so that was a very pleasant surprise.
I also enjoyed the romance. They did it in such a way that was so sweet and not embarrassing like movies today.
The only thing I disagreed with was that leading lady gave her husband all her money and was willing to let him determine what to do with it.
Her original intention was to just help him out (take care of him) but after he got back on his feet, she STILL gave him her money. Which is just plain stupid. She should have quit her job, homemade (you know I coin terms 😉 ), let him take care of her and lived happily ever after.
The second one I watched was equally modest but with an added twist that made me feel like I could have written the script.
It echoed the themes that I repeat, ad nauseum, in this blog.
Anti-feminism, male/female roles, and the actual fact that when we are born we are born one-half of a soul and our other half is out there somewhere. We just have to be PATIENT and KEEP CHASTE and wait for Allah to make him/her manifest.