This text presents an analysis of the career and artistry surrounding the legendary black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. With the exception of Spike Lee, Micheaux is the most famous and prolific African American film director. Between 1914 and 1948, he made more than 40 ""race pictures"" - movies made for and about African Americans. A man of immense creativity, he also wrote seven novels. Here, Pearl Bowser and Louise Spence concentrate on the first decade of Micheaux's career, when he produced and directed more than 20 silent features and built a reputation as a controversial and maverick entrepreneur. Placing his work firmly within his social and cultural milieu, they thoroughly cover Micheaux's family and life. The authors also provide a close textual analysis of his surviving films (including ""The Symbol of the Unconquered"", ""Within our Gates"" and ""Body and Soul"") and highlight the rivalry between the studios, dilemmas of assimilation versus separatism, gender issues and class. The text also goes on to analyze Micheaux's career as a novelist in relation to his work as a filmmaker.
Pearl Bowser, founder of the African Diaspora Images collection, specializes in African and African American film. She co-directed the award-winning documentaryMidnight Ramble: Oscar Micheaux and the Story of Race Movies. Louise Spence is an associate professor and coordinator of media studies at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut and has published extensively in scholarly journals and anthologies.Thulani Davis is a writer, author of the novels Maker of Saints and 1959 and contributor to Malcolm X: The Great Photographs and the biographical film W.E.B. Du Bois.