When the theater’s lights rose, the man trembled with anger and fear. What he’d just seen was enough to get Black people killed! He slipped out of the theater and couldn’t run fast enough. What about this film was so frightening?
He knew the power of the image – and this viciously racist 1915 film, “Birth of a Nation,” painted us as criminals, rapists, and beasts! Showing a white man in blackface attempting to rape a white woman, and celebrating one of the first brutal gangs in America, the KKK, this film was about to become the one of the most lethal forms of racist propaganda in American history.
But this wasn’t the only insult.
This horrific film was a sensation, viewed by millions – and was even screened at the White House! How could Blacks defend themselves against these derogatory stereotypes sanctioned by the President?
We must not only fight HOW they portray us, but we MUST write our own stories! We must portray ourselves in realistic, positive roles rather letting white supremacy create in us a demeaning self-image.