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Barbara Tepa Lupack: Race and Representation
October 22, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Many fine early black actors and actresses were limited to minor and demeaning screen roles as servants and clowns, and other outrageous stereotypes that derived from late nineteenth-century blackface minstrel shows and popular theater productions.
Few people, however, are aware of the fact that, almost a century ago, a select group of independent black (and, occasionally, white) “race filmmakers” determined to counter these persistent and unfortunate caricatures. Their “race films” — seen by blacks, largely unseen by whites, and long neglected or ignored by film historians — established new black character types and situations and became an expression of group and racial consciousness that helped to define black identity in the transition to modern urban life.
This event, which incorporates rare film clips and movie stills, will begin an important conversation about early racial stereotypes and about the remarkable race filmmakers who attempted to create a new and separate cinema that provided a vital counter-narrative to the prevailing racist portrayals of the day.