*Oscar Micheaux*

Oscar Micheaux
Research papers

Annotated Bibliography

by Sarah Weiss

See also Sarah's research paper.    See also the other bibliography.







Oscar Micheaux
places in his life

Micheaux links



Gregory, SD

Great Bend, KS

Great Bend, KS




Black History
in Kansas

Web Access Project

Bobby approved

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Primary Sources

"Dooley's Atlas Theater.' The Chicago Defender. 2 February 1920.
This newspaper advertisement appeared in the Chicago Defender when Micheaux's film, Within Our Gates, was being shown at theatres in Chicago and across the nation. The advertisement stated that the Dooley's Atlas Theatre at 4711 State St. in Chicago would be having a four-day run of the film. This primary source provided a perspective on advertising for Micheaux's films.

"Going Abroad: Noted Motion Picture Producer Soon Sails for Europe." The Chicago Defender. 31 January 1920.
A primary source newspaper article, printed in The Chicago Defender that was vital to research. The article described Micheaux's plans to travel with his films and show them around the world. It provided some of Micheaux's own words and also showed that Micheaux was well-known in the black community by 1920.

"Hammond's Pickford." The Chicago Defender. 29 January 1920.
This primary source advertised Micheaux's film, Within Our Gates, in Chicago. It presented the film as vital to see and an important asset to the African community in Chicago at the time.

"The Homesteader." The Chicago Defender. 22 February 1919.
This advertisement was printed in The Chicago Defender in 1919. It presented The Homesteader as "a powerful drama of the great American Northwest, adapted to the screen by the author from his popular new novel of the same name, featuring an ALL STAR NEGRO CAST," a description used in later advertisements in the Defender. This source gave information on the film and when and where it was shown.

"The Homesteader." The Chicago Defender. 4 May 1919.
This advertisement presented Micheaux's film, The Homesteader as "a powerful drama of the northwest with an all star colored cast." The film would be shown at Dooley's Atlas Theater from May 5-6, 1919.

Micheaux, Oscar. The Conquest: The Story of a Negro Pioneer. Washington, D.C.: The Woodruff Bank Note, Co., 1913.
The Conquest: The Story of a Negro Pioneer was written by Oscar Micheaux in 1913. It is the "true story of a Negro who was discontented and the circumstances that were the outcome of that discontent." Dedicated to Booker T. Washington, the book was reprinted by the McGrath Publishing Company in 1969. The book contains a few pictures of crop fields, marketplaces, and one of Micheaux himself. This primary source provided the best insight into Micheaux's philosophy and life (as the book was virtually an autobiography) and was a vital source.

Micheaux, Oscar. The Homesteader: A Novel. Sioux City, Iowa: Western Book Supply Company, 1917.
The Homesteader: A Novel, by Oscar Micheaux, is a rewrite of The Conquest. Micheaux names himself Jean Baptiste in the book and describes his life as a pioneer in South Dakota. The book also describes his plans for the future. The Homesteader was later made into Micheaux's first motion picture, after being rejected by the Lincoln Motion Picture, Co. The book was originally printed by the Western Book Supply Company directed by Micheaux in Sioux City, Iowa and Chicago. It was printed in 1917 for the first time, and later reprinted by the First Bison Book, Co. in 1994 and the University of Nebraska Press.

Micheaux, Oscar. The Masquerade: An Historical Novel. New York: Book Supply Company, 1947.
The Masquerade was one of Micheaux's later novels. It was printed in New York by the Book Supply Company in 1947 and then reprinted by the AMS Press, Inc. in 1975. The book begins with a short letter from Micheaux to his readers about the story. The book is about a "free Negro" family in North Carolina shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War. The book is dedicated to "those who believe in liberty and freedom for all."

"Report of the General Superintendent of Police to the City Council for the Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 1912." Chicago: The Police Department of the City of Chicago, 1913.
This resource presented statistics and facts from a police report in Chicago in 1913. It provided vital information and statistics on the Chicago Moving Pictures Board.

"Riot Sweeps Chicago." The Chicago Defender. 2 August 1919.
The Chicago Defender's front page headline on August 2, 1919 read "Riot Sweeps Chicago." In the heat of the Chicago Race Riots, this front page article was a vital source. It included information about the riot, how many and the names of those that were killed, how many and the names of those that were injured, and the details of the riots.

"The Scar of Shame." The Library of Congress and Smithsonian Video, 1993, videocassette.
The Scar of Shame was one of Micheaux's less-known films. The film encompassed the basic themes that Micheaux often used. Racial issues such as intermarriage were the focus of the film.

"Senate Drafts Bill to Halt Lynching." The Chicago Defender. 24 January 1920.
This article appeared in The Chicago Defender in 1920 after the summer of the race riots. Lynchings, unfortunately, remained, and this source provided a perspective on the controversial issues surrounding them.

"States Theater." The Chicago Defender. 24 February 1920.
The last opportunity to see Within Our Gates would be at the States Theater on February 24, 1920. The film would be shown without cuts and seen in entirety.

"Total Number of Reels of Film Inspected, Number Rejected." Chicago: The Police Department of the City of Chicago, 1 March 1920.
This resource provided statistics and information from the Chicago Motion Pictures Board that was given permission to censor or ban any films they felt were objectionable. The charts included here presented the number of reels of films inspected and the number rejected.

"Vendome Theater." The Chicago Defender. 12 January 1920.
Within Our Gates would be shown at Hammond's Vendome Theatre on January 12, 920. The Vendome Theater was located at 3143-49 State St. in Chicago.

"Within Our Gates." The Chicago Defender. 10 January 1920.
This advertisement was larger than most others in the Defender. It advertised Micheaux's Within Our Gates to be shown at the Vendome Theater for one week, beginning Monday, January 12, 1920. The advertisement describes the film as "the greatest preachment against race prejudice… it will hold you spellbound… full of details that will make you grit your teeth in silent indignation…"

"Within Our Gates." The Chicago Defender. 17 January 1920.
Another advertisement in The Chicago Defender for Micheaux's Within Our Gates at the Vendome Theater in Chicago.

"Within Our Gates." United States: The Library of Congress and Smithsonian Video, 1993, videocassette.
Within Our Gates was one of the most controversial films ever made. Filmed and directed by Oscar Micheaux, this film was shown to the public in the early 1920s. However, it was soon lost and later discovered in Spain, renamed La Negra. A team of historians and interpreters changed the subtitles back to English and brought the film back to the United States to be archived in the Library of Congress. This copy of the film contains the direct images and story of Micheaux's original film. The film was a vital primary source that presented Micheaux most controversial and courageous work.

Secondary Sources

"As the Cameras Rolled, Chicago was Dream City." The Chicago Tribune. 10 August 1986.
This article appeared in The Chicago Tribune in 1986, giving a full history of the motion picture industry in Chicago. The article gave perspective on the early part of the 20th century, and how the industry effected the lives of Chicagoans as well as all Americans. The secondary source provided information on Essanay, Selig, and other early film companies.

Bernstein, Arnie. Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100 Years of Chicago and the Movies. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 1998.
This secondary source was vital to researching early film and Oscar Micheaux. It provided information on the developing technology of the time that gave way to the rising motion picture industry as well as specific upstarts such as Selig, Essanay, Jones, Ebony, and Micheaux. The book contains a history of Micheaux's life as well as important analysis on his films.

Bogle, Donald. "Black Beginnings: From Uncle Tom's Cabin to the Birth of a Nation." Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks. New York: Continuum Publishing Company, 1989.
This article was printed in a very resourceful book that contains articles about early racism in motion pictures. Bogle's article covers early books and films that dealt with racism in direct and indirect ways. His analysis provides a vital perspective on racism in the early motion pictures.

Bogle, Donald. Blacks in American Films and Television. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1988.
This source, also by Donald Bogle, encompasses a history of African Americans in film and television since the very earliest films. The book gives a small amount of information on Micheaux, but provides an interesting history of many other African American filmmakers since the beginning of the century.

Bowser, Pearl. "Bits and Pieces of Oscar Micheaux." [http://www.duke.edu/web/film/Micheaux/OMN-06.html]. October 1997.
This website provided information on Micheaux, his life, and his lasting effect on the African American community as well as American cinema in general.

"Brief History of Film, Video, and Television Technology." [http://www.soundsite.com/history/filmhis.html].
This website contributed technology timelines, analysis on early film, as well as information on the advent of new technologies to research.

Cripps, Thomas. Black Film as Genre. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1978.
This complex resource gave a very detailed analysis of African American film in the 20th century. It discussed Micheaux, but more specifically, film technique in every aspect.

Cripps, Thomas. Making Movies Black: The Hollywood Message Movie From World War II to the Civil Rights Era. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
This book gave an analysis of later films in Hollywood. The resource did not discuss independent filmmakers, rather, the biggest film society of the time and now, Hollywood. The interpretation of Hollywood's messages was incorporated into a detailed history.

Cripps, Thomas. "'Race Movies' as Voices of the Black Bourgeoisie: The Scar of Shame." American History/American Film. New York: Ungar, 1979.
This resource provided information on the early race movies that gave voice to the African American community. The discussion continues with specific examples of African American films such as Micheaux's, The Scar of Shame.

Cripps, Thomas. Slow Fade to Black: The Negro in American Film: 1900-1942. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.
This book contains a great amount of information on the African American in American film during the early part of the 20th century. The book and author are noted for a detailed and specific analysis of a rising industry and a struggling society.

Cross, Robert. "Chicago's Great Decade in the Role of Film Capital." The Chicago Tribune, 20 December 1987.
This reference provided information on the establishment of Chicago as the "film capital" of the world. Chicago had the technology, the people, and the interest for the industry and was noted by Cross in the Tribune as leading the industry until it moved west to California.

Culture: Expanding the Audience. Chicago: 1980.
This resource provided the basic historical facts and information on the early motion picture industry and its residence in Chicago. Histories of Selig, Essanay, and Edison's Kinetoscope are given.

DeBartolo, John. "Oscar Micheaux, Micheaux Films and 'Race Films': 50 Years of Looking at the Movies." [http://www.mdle.com/ClassicFilms/SpecialFeature/feb597.htm]. 1996-1998.
This article posted on the World Wide Web provided interesting comparisons of Micheaux to the "white" motion picture industry in America. The analysis given describes differences and similarities between Micheaux and race films vs. Hollywood and other early motion pictures.

Delapa, T.R. "Movie Memorabilia Recounts Chicago's Fabled Film History." The Chicago Tribune. 5 October 1984.
This newspaper article advertises an auction that took place in Chicago in October of 1984. Movie memorabilia from the early 20th century brings up interesting discussion of the days when Chicago was a film capital.

Diawara, Manthia. Black American Cinema. New York: American Film Institute, 1993.
This book provided information on early film in the United States and more specifically, early African American film. Analysis included secondary descriptions of the importance and the lasting effects of African Americans in the movie industry.

Drake, St. Clair & Cayton, Horace A. Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1970.
This secondary source book provides a study of race and urban life. The information is based on a project begun by Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) in the late 30s and contains an account of the people of Chicago's South Side, the urban ghetto.

Duis, Perry. Chicago: Creating New Traditions. Chicago: The Chicago Historical Society, 1976.
This resource contained early historical information on Chicago including the advent of new technologies, early film, and descriptions of early society.

The Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History. New York: 1991.
This secondary source provided a brief history of Oscar Micheaux: his life, his films, and his legacy.

"Essanay." The Sun Times, 24 May 1978.
This article from The Sun Times in Chicago provided important historical background about the Essanay Co. and its founders.

Estep, George. "Movie-making's Back in Chicago." The Chicago Tribune, 18 August 1977.
This article discusses the importance of Chicago to the early motion picture industry, and how in 1977, for the first time for decades, Chicago is used as the set for a movie. This source provided an interesting perspective on the importance of Chicago then and now to the movie industry and the changes (such as the industry's move to Hollywood) that had lasting effects.

"Fifty Years Ago: 1924." Chicago History, Spring-Summer 1974.
This timeline in the Chicago Historical Society's quarterly historical magazine charted events that took place 50 years before the printing of the timeline, 1924. The timeline included some interesting facts about the early motion picture industry.

Grisham, William. The Chicago Tribune Magazine. 7 December 1969.
This untitled article compared the motion picture industry in Chicago to the glamour of Hollywood. The source discusses early companies that took the leading role in the industry as well as their legacies.

Grisham, William F. "Those Marvelous Men and Their Movie Machines: Chicago's Film Pioneers Delighted Audiences With One-Reelers More than 50 Years Ago and Turned Our Town Into the Country's Movie Capital." The Chicago Tribune Magazine. 7 December 1969.
This article gives a vivid description of Chicago when it was the film capital of the country and world. It discusses the ambition and success of early film pioneers such as Selig and Spoor and their importance in turning Chicago into the center of the industry.

Haas, Joseph. "Hollywood is 50 Years Old: See How Much You Can Remember-Since Chicago Gave Birth to the Child." Chicago Daily News. 21 October 1958.
This article gives early historical information on Chicago's film companies and most specifically, on the importance and times of Charlie Chaplin, a true representative of the Chicago movie industry.

Jones, William. Black Cinema Treasures Lost and Found. Texas: University of North Texas Press, 1991.
This book gave a vivid and descriptive history and analysis of Oscar Micheaux, his films, his importance at the time, and his legacy to the African American community and American film and society.

Kaminsky, Merle. "Lerner Newspapers Staff Writer" Lerner Newspapers. 14 May 1974.
This secondary source newspaper article gives a brief but interesting description of the early motion picture industry in Chicago and the legacy of what was begun in Chicago to American film.

Keenan, Martin, interview by author, December 27-29, 1998, e-mail correspondence.
This secondary source interview was very important in the research for this paper. Mr. Keenan is an attorney-at-law in Great Bend, Kansas, where Micheaux is buried and most of his relatives now reside. Keenan has a growing interest in Micheaux, and has done extensive research on his life and his films. He provided important information and analysis of Micheaux's importance and legacy in the African American community as well as interesting anecdotes on Micheaux's life. Keenan was also involved in providing pictures for the book, Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100 Years of Chicago and the Movies by Arnie Bernstein.

Klotman, Phyllis Rauch. Frame by Frame: A Black Filmography. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1979.
This secondary source book provided a historical background on African American film in every aspect. Connections were made between the early motion picture industry and issues that surrounded the beginnings of race movies.

Lahue, Kalton C. "Motion Picture Pioneer, The Selig Polyscope, Co." New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1973.
This secondary source provided a detailed history of the Selig Polyscope, Co., how it got its start, its success, its founders, and its legacy in American film.

Lelyved, Nita. "First Weekend Club Shows Support for Black Films," The Chicago Tribune, 1 January 1999.
This very recent newspaper article provided information about the First Weekend Club, an African American organization that motivates people to see "black" movies the first weekend they are out, to raise ratings for specific movies. The article described how the club functions and also included some interesting quotes from the director on the club's mission.

Levy, Arthur. G. "Development of the Movies and Talking Picture Industry." Chicago: The Chicago Historical Society, 1960.
This article including a detailed timeline of developing technological advances during the industry's era in Chicago. This information was used to incorporate technology into the focus of the research paper.

Madden, Rich. "A Touch on The Exile." [http://www.duke.edu/web/film/Micheaux/OMN-06.html].
The Exile was one of Micheaux's later movies. This website describes the movie's plot, historical background, and importance to the motion picture industry.

"Micheaux's Lost Epic Rediscovered." The Los Angeles Sentinel, 13 August 1992.
This newspaper article recounts the history behind Within Our Gates, one of Micheaux's most noted films. The article describes how and when the film was discovered in Spain and also includes a list of showings of the film across the nation.

"Midnight Ramble: The Story of the Black Film Industry." Illinois: Shanackie Entertainment Corp., 1994, videocassette.
This film was vital to this research paper. The film gave a detailed history of African American film, race movies, and the industry's pioneers, focusing on Chicago. The film also includes important information on Micheaux, and interviews with noted historians.

Nesteby, James. Black Images in American Film, 1896-1954. Washington, D.C.: The University Press of America, 1982.
A resource that discusses the stereotypes in early film and how these stereotypes were responded to. Nesteby draws comparisons between early motion pictures and early race movies.

"Oscar Micheaux Society Home Page." [http://www.duke.edu/web/film/Micheaux/].
This website included links to information about Micheaux's life, specific information on any one of Micheaux's films, other biographical information, and the legacy Micheaux left behind.

Patterson, Lindsay. Black Films and Filmmakers. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1975.
Ms. Patterson recounts early African American filmmakers and the films they made in response to negative stereotypes in early motion pictures.

Philpott, Thomas Lee. The Slum and the Ghetto: Immigrants, Blacks, and Reformers in Chicago, 1880-1930. California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1991.
This secondary source provides interesting descriptions of the urban ghetto, and differentiates between African Americans and other immigrant groups during the early part of the 20th century. The book discusses the slum, the ghetto, constructive reform, and the neighborhood role of the settlements.

Reid, Mark A. Redifining Black Film. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1993.
This secondary source provided vital information about early African American film and its legacy in American film today. Reid discusses early black film pioneers such as Micheaux and their importance to the African American community.

Regester, Charlene. "Oscar Micheaux Society Newsletter: The Reincarnation of Oscar Micheaux." [http://www.duke.edu/web/film/Micheaux/OMN-06.html]. 1997.
This website discussed in great detail the legacy of Oscar Micheaux in the African American community, in African American film, in American film, and in our modern American society.

Sampson, Henry T. "Blacks in Hollywood, a Secret History." [http://www.bkh.com/bkhallhtmlfolder/1kinghtmlfolder/tonybrown.html]. 1996.
This website describes the importance of African Americans and their early and current participation in American film. Sampson touches on Micheaux and other pioneers that worked hard to make what the motion picture industry is today.

Smith, Valerie. Representing Blackness: Issues in Film and Video. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1997.
This secondary source provides an interesting insight into the African American film and its response to the negative stereotypes that plagued the black community in the early 20th century.

Spear, Allan H. Black Chicago: The Making of a Negro Ghetto: 1890-1920. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1967.
This sociological book explores the history of the African American community during the first half of the 20th century when racism was prevalent. It touches on serious urban problems and prejudice that still exist today.

Statuette Chris. "Oscar Micheaux, Film Pioneer." Illinois: Beacon Films, Inc., 1981, videocassette.
This film provides a dramatic history of Oscar Micheaux's life. The 30-minute film entered the Columbus International Film Festival in 1982 and was a finalist at the American Film Festival also in 1982. It received the award of "First Place Documentary" in the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1981.

"Studios-Essanay." The Sunday Chicago Tribune. 26 January 1947.
This articles gives a detailed history of the Essanay Company in Chicago and its founder, George S. Spoor.

Thomas, Pamela A. "Introduction to Oscar Micheaux." [http://www.coe.unce.edu/~ibcnhp/IBCN/intro.html].
This website provided interesting information on Micheaux's life, including biographical information and details about Micheaux's film.

Travis, Dempsey J. An Autobiography of Black Chicago. Chicago, Illinois: Urban Research Institute, Inc., 1981.
Dempsey Travis, a noted African American author and historian, writes a description of his life in the context of African American history. Travis focuses on Chicago history and the experiences of members of the black community.

Tuttle, William M. Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1970.
This book gives a vivid written account and interpretation of the race riots of 1919 in Chicago. It describes the racial violence of the time, the tension in society that sparked the riots, and its lasting effects.

Webb, Floyd, interview by author, December 27, 1998, e-mail correspondence.
This secondary source interview was vital to research done for this paper. Mr. Floyd Webb is an African American independent filmmaker. He was the associate producer of Daughters of the Dust, directed by Julia Dash. Webb took special interest in Micheaux many years ago, and has been researching him since then. Webb provided information and analysis on Micheaux's legacy in African American cinema today and how Micheaux's courage and independence created an interest in a movement of independent filmmakers such as himself.

Webb, Floyd. "On the Trail of Oscar Micheaux: The Early Days of a Pioneer Filmmaker in Gregory, South Dakota." [http://itutu.com/oscar/ithink.html]. 1996.
This website gives a brief record of Micheaux's life and a summary of each of his films.

Webb, Floyd. "Oscar Micheaux (1885-1951)." [http://geechee.com/Micheaux.html]. 1998.
This website gives a more detailed historical background of Micheaux's life and films.

"What Do These Old Films Mean?: 1902-1914" Chicago, Facets Multimedia, Inc., 1989, videocassette.
This film describes the content of early motion pictures and how they effected the society they were shown to. The film touches on the earliest films of Chicago and issues and themes that most often were included in them.

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