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Social Justice Silent Film Series

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Ned R. McWherter Library

Memphis, TN 38111

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The University of Memphis Libraries will be offering a rare opportunity to see, not one, but three, 1920s era silent 'race films' by director Oscar Micheaux.

Micheaux made films about contemporary black life that challenged racial injustice and fought inferior stereotypes. Micheaux's African American characters were complex individuals that did not fit neatly into positive or negative portrayals. He used his films to critique the value system of both black and white communities in America.

Only three of Micheaux's silent 'race films' survive, Within Our Gates, 1919; Symbol of the Unconquered, 1920; and Body and Soul, 1925. The University Libraries will be showing all three! These films were among his most controversial and banned from many southern theaters. They confronted social issues like rape, lynching, job discrimination, mob violence, and economic exploitation. Micheaux's films were also made during the New Negro Movement, and reflect the self-help, racial uplift strategies blacks used to build thriving communities despite Jim Crow.

Within Our Gates- February 14 - 4PM

Symbol of the Unconquered - February 21- 4PM

Body and Soul - February 28 - 4PM

All films will be shown at Ned R. McWherter Library on the University of Memphis Campus. For more information, contact Courtney Hicks at chicks5@memphis.edu.

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Ned R. McWherter Library

Memphis, TN 38111

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