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{ 4 }  SNJ Today  |  JUly 14, 2021                                                                                                                                                                                                                               JUly 14, 2021  |   { 5 }
             NEWS IN BRIEF                                                            HISTORY

                                                                                               Filmed in

                                                                                           New Jersey

                                                                               Micheaux’s movies, including many filmed in Fort lee,
                                                                                     showed African-Americans in all walks of life.

                                                                               JERSEY REFLECTIONS                                    Vince Farinaccio

                                                                                    scar Micheaux,                                   In a New Yorker
                                                                                    the pioneering                                review of a recent
                                                                              Ofilm director                                      screening of Within
                                                                               of Black American                                  Our Gates, writer
                                                                               cinema, produced                                   Richard Brody stated:
                                                                               more than 40 movies                                “Oscar Micheaux’s
                                                                               in his lifetime, and a                             bold, forceful
                                                                               handful of his pictures                            melodrama, from
                                                                               were made, at least in                             1919—the oldest
                                                                               part, in Fort Lee, New                             surviving feature by
                                                                               Jersey.                                            a Black American
                                                                                 After completing                                 director—unfolds
                                                                               his first movie, The                               the vast political
                                                                               Homesteader, in                                    dimensions of intimate
                                                                               Chicago, Micheaux                                  romantic crises…With
                                                                               headed to Fort Lee                                 a brisk and sharp-
                                                                               in 1919 to film Within                             edged style, Micheaux
                                                                               Our Gates, which                                   sketches a wide view
           MENTAL HEALTH                                              reports                             of Black society…and
                                                                               “was produced                                      the harrowing ambient
             URGENT CARE                                                       on a $15,000 budget from an original   violence of Jim Crow, which he shows
                                                                               screenplay written by Micheaux himself.”   unsparingly and gruesomely. Along with
                                                                               Many interpret the film as a response to   his revulsion at the hateful rhetoric and
            Get the help you need when you                                     The Birth of a Nation’s glorification of   murderous tyranny of Southern whites,
           need it! Mental Health Urgent Care                                  KKK violence four years earlier. Whether   Micheaux displays a special satirical
          provides adults immediate access to                                  or not that was his intent, Micheaux used   disgust for a Black preacher who offers
          services in a welcoming environment.                                 this and other films to demonstrate the   his parishioners Heaven as a reward for
                                                                               effects of racism.                  their unquestioning submissiveness.”
                                                                                 Patrick McGilligan, writing for the   Micheaux returned to Fort Lee
                                                                               New York Times in 2007, noted that   in 1920 to film The Symbol of the
              Get Help Today!                                                  Micheaux’s movies “were among the   Unconquered which, 99 years later, was
                                                                                                                   finally screened in the town where it was
                                                                               first films in history to attack lynchings,
                                                                               segregated housing, gambling rackets,   filmed. On this occasion, the Barrymore
                                                                               corrupt preachers, domestic abuse,   Film Center website observed that the
                                                                               criminal profiling by police, and all kinds   picture is “a ground-breaking film in
                                                                               of racial inequities.”              that it depicts the Ku Klux Klan as a
                                                                                 Ten years later, Svetlana Shkolnikova   terrorist organization as opposed to
                                                                               of the website assessed that   director DW Griffith’s portrayal of the
                                                                               “while white filmmakers often       KKK as saviors in his 1915 film Birth of a
                                                                               characterized African-Americans as   Nation. Micheaux, in shooting this film
                                                                               entertainers or domestic workers,   in 1920, was using the same streets and
                                                                               Micheaux sought to paint a more     locations in Fort Lee as Griffith did some
             1420 Lincoln Ave. | Vineland, NJ 08361                            nuanced portrait of the African-American   8 years earlier when he was shooting his
           856-537-2310 |                                  experience and showed black actors in   Biograph shorts on location in Fort Lee.”
                                                                               every social stratum.”                 It wasn’t until 1931 that Micheaux
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