In honor of Black History Month, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, the American West Program of CSU’s Public Lands History Center will present a screening of Midnight Ramble: Oscar Micheaux and the Story of the Black Film Industry.
Midnight Ramble was produced by PBS in collaboration with Pearl Bowser, an award-winning author, television director, film director, producer and film archivist who dedicated her life to recovering the history of African-American creative expression. Gillian Bowser, Pearl Bowser’s daughter, will introduce the film. She is a research scientist with the Natural Resources Ecology Lab at CSU and a faculty affiliate in the Department of Ethnic Studies.
After the movie, Bowser and CSU history Professor Ruth Alexander will host a Q&A session with the audience.
“During the early 20th century, African Americans seeking the rights, opportunities, and security of full citizenship faced extraordinary opposition from America’s white majority,” Alexander said. “In addition to segregation, disenfranchisement, discrimination and brutal vigilante violence, African Americans encountered demeaning stereotypes in the newly emerging movie industry.”
She explained that intrepid men and women in the African American community created hundreds of “race films” for black audiences, recognizing film’s potential to resist, rather than promote, racist stereotypes. Their films sought to portray African Americans in positive terms and to depict their struggles realistically.
“Oscar Micheaux was among the very first black filmmakers in the U.S., producing 44 films over his lifetime, spanning both the silent and sound film eras,” Alexander said. “Midnight Ramble: Oscar Micheaux and the Story of the Black Film Industry offers a history of ‘race films’ and their significance in the lives of African Americans.”
The showing will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 18 in Clark A-207. The screening is co-sponsored by the Department of History and the School of Global Environmental Sustainability.
To learn more about the event, visit http://sustainability.colostate.edu/events/midnight-ramble-documentary.