Tag Archives: NAACP

The NAACP and The Birth of a Nation

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 8.56.46 AMThere’s an old adage in Hollywood that claims there is no such thing as bad press. Case in point: according to historian Melvyn Stokes, evidence suggests that the protest campaign launched by the National Association of Colored People against D. W. Griffith’s controversial film The Birth of a Nation did more to stimulate interest in the picture than it did to dissuade audiences from attending. The NAACP worked vehemently against this film beginning at its debut in 1915 at the Clune auditorium in Los Angeles. They protested screenings (pictured left in 1947) and demanded that the more racist depictions of African American be cut from the film.

In the end they were largely unsuccessful. Even white liberals who supported civil rights balked at the notion of censorship…and so the film went on screening across the land. The silver lining? The protests also garnered a great deal of attention for the NAACP, and as a result, their ranks swelled during the first half of the twentieth century. So not all was lost. Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 8.57.35 AM

With compliments,

Keith

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 4.01.57 PMHere’s a fun little tidbit for the day. Did you know that film maker D. W. Griffith once offered $10,000 to anyone who could demonstrate that any part of his film The Birth of a Nation was untrue? Well…he did. He was quite incensed by protests from the NAACP and others claiming that his work misrepresented black people. From Griffith’s perspective, his film was authentic history down to the detail, and thus he challenged anyone to prove historical inaccuracies. As far as I know…no one took him up on the offer. If his estate still exists, I wonder if the challenge stands…

With compliments,

Keith