The Center for the Study of Race & Democracy and The Philosophy & Film Series present "The Birth of a Nation" (1915).
Join ASU faculty and the community for a discussion about the film's themes, imagery, reception, responses, relevance and more! Scenes from Oscar Micheaux's film "Within Our Gates," which critics and historians have cited as direct repsonse to "Birth," will also be shown as part of this discussion.
About the Film:
"The Birth of a Nation" is a 1915 American epic drama adapted from the novel and play "The Clansman." The film chronicles the relationship of two families,the pro-Union Northern Stonemans and the pro-Confederacy Southern Camerons, during the American Civil War and Reconstruction eras.
Although considered an artistic and commercial success, the film was, and is, highly controversial due to its portrayal of black men, some played by white actors in blackface, as unintelligent and sexually aggressive towards white women as well as the depiction of the Ku Klux Klan as a heroic force. Upon release there were widespread protests by African-American communities against the film, including in Phoenix, and the NAACP spearheaded an unsuccessful campaign to ban the film. The innovative techniques used by the director D.W. Griffith has marked "The Birth of a Nation" as a landmark of film history and in 1992, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
* This film may not be suitable for younger viewers. *