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- Liberal Arts and Humanities / Religion
Oscar Micheaux Program Is Part Of Black History Month Observation
Contact: Lily Hodge, New Jersey Historical Society, 973-596-8500 ext. 234; or Peter Haigney, Rutgers-Newark, 973-353-1663
(Newark) - The New Jersey Historical Society, a partnering institution of Rutgers-Newark, will present a program on the pioneer African-American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux on Saturday, February 12 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Historical Society, 52 Park Place, Newark. "The Life and Films of Oscar Micheaux," part of the observation of Black History Month, will feature film scholar and author Pearl Bowser, director of the award-winning documentary Midnight Ramble: Oscar Micheaux and the Story of Race Movies. The program is free and open to the public, although registration is required. Reservations can be made by calling 973-596-8500, ext. 234.
Rutgers-Newark and The New Jersey Historical Society signed a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2004, which has been hailed as a precedent-setting collaboration that will support the highest levels of teaching and research in the humanities.
Ms. Bowser, founder and director of African Diaspora Images, a collection of historical and contemporary films documenting black film history, will tell Micheauxs story and show excerpts of her documentary on Micheaux, the only African-American to produce films in both silent and sound eras. Ms. Bowser is also the co-author of Writing Himself Into History, a study of Micheaux's silent films, and a biography of Micheaux, Oscar Micheaux, His Silent Films and His Audiences.
Micheaux was the first African-American to produce a feature film, The Homesteader, which was also the first full-length eight reel, all-Black movie. He was also the first African-American to produce a sound feature film, The Exile. Credited with over 40 films, Micheaux is widely regarded as the "father" of African-American cinema. He was posthumously admitted to the Directors Guild of America, and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Micheaux was also an author, playwright, book publisher and lecturer.
The New Jersey Historical Society, founded in 1845, examines New Jersey history through its collections, exhibitions, publications and programming. The Historical Society is located at 52 Park Place in Newark, one-half block from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Exhibition galleries are open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the Library is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12 noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free of charge. Family programs take place Saturdays and lunchtime workshops and lectures are offered every Wednesday from September through June.