Oscar Micheaux was an African-American author and film director, who wrote novels and produced over 40 films. He is regarded as the first major African-American filmmaker producing both silent and sound films. Micheaux’s father was born a slave in Kentucky, and he worked on his father’s farm, before moving to Chicago where he had jobs in the stockyards, steel mills, and as a Pullman porter. He became a homesteader in South Dakota. His life experiences inspired his novels and films. Patrick McGilligan’s biography inspired a documentary on his life.
Micheaux’s Films & Books
His films were made during the Jim Crow era. He said, “One of the greatest tasks of my life has been to teach that the colored man can be anything.” He was inspired by Booker T. Washington and the “Go West” philosophy of Horace Greeley. He acquired two 160 acre tracts in South Dakota and his life as a homesteader inspired his first novel published in 1913, “The Conquest: The Story of a Negro Pioneer.” His first film, “The Homesteader” was based on this book. His work focused on thought-provoking and complex narratives on race relations.
This Oscar Micheaux mug is part of our Film Director, Author and African American Series profiling outstanding men and women who have helped shape our country in important and positive ways.
The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history. The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton. He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone. The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.
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