African American movies essay, extend the papers

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Surname 1
African American Movies
African Americans first appeared in minstrel shows in the late 1820s. The shows were
produced for entertainment purposes. The shows portrayed Africans as inferior people who had
human defects. The whites were portrayed as the normal people while the African were
presented with exaggerated lips to create humor. A century later the African Americans started
appearing on the television. The idea that African Americans were inferior created the belief
among whites who expected all African Americans to behave like the characters presented on
television. The first African American to appear on screen was starred in the Uncle Tom’s Cabin
film. In the early 1900s, the role of the black people was limited due to the negative perception
of the African Americans. Since the first African American appeared on television screens, they
have been stereotyped as inferior, weak and imperfect.
History of African American Movies
The first African American cinema was produced by Bill Foster. In 1912 Bill Foster
produced a comedy film titled The Railroad Porter that was widely watched. However, most of
the films produced by Bill Foster have since been destroyed. Bill Foster inspired George P.
Johnson to venture into the production of African American movies. George P. Johnson started
the Lincoln Motion Picture Company with the help of Booker T. Washington. The work of
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George P. Johnson was not a success since theaters were closed due to the influenza epidemic.
The voice of African American movies became strong after the Second World War. The movies
addressed racial tensions such as the movie titled Am I Guilty by Ralph Cooper. In 1950s black
actors were becoming popular including Sidney Poitier as well as Harry Belafonte. In the 1970s
the Time Magazine published an article indicating that people were running to the theaters to see
new black heroes.
In 1970s several African American films were produced including Blacula and Cool
Breeze. The focus of the movies was to portray the feelings African Americans had fighting
against racism as well as inequality. In the late 1900s, various filmmakers paved way for the
evolution of African American movies including Tyler Perry and Spike Lee. In the recent past
movies such as 12 Years a Slave have depicted the racial tension between the whites and the
blacks. The movies are produced to show the experiences the African Americas went through
when they were totally being perceived as imperfect people. Other movies based on the idea of
racism include The Help, The Green Mile, The Color Purple and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Racism in Movies
Racism in America has been a complicated and endless topic. The African American
movies have only presented what has been experienced in the past. The film 12 Years a Slave is
a sobering film that shows the dark side of racism. Another inspiring film is The Autobiography
of Miss Jane Pittman who was once a slave and experienced racism. Another film which shows
that racism is still an open wound in America is titled Do the Right Thing. One of the films that
triggered racism in movies was the Birth of a Nation released in the 1900s. Although the film
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Birth of a Nation tried to raise the standard of an African American other films were demeaning
and insulting the black people by referring to them as Negros.
The issue of racism is an unending debate in America and films have been used to present
the state of the society. African American movies have become popular despite the poor starting
point when African Americans featured in minstrel. The movies have been used to show the
depth of racism in the American culture since African Americans are presented as weak, poor,
imperfect and inferior.

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