Written by The Film Detective
Juneteenth, celebrated annually on June 19, marks a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States, following the order to abolish slavery in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. Today, 155 years after its origins, Juneteeth serves as a day to commemorate freedom and achievement, to reflect, and to push against the injustices still remaining in our communities.
“You don’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you came from” said 93-year-old activist Opal Lee (pictured above) in a 2017 interview with Kera News, “You need to remember so these things don’t happen again.” Opal Lee has served as an advocate to observe Juneteenth as a national holiday, leading events in honor of the holiday for over 40 years.
To learn more about Juneteenth and to amplify the voices of African American filmmakers and artists both in classic film history and today, we have compiled a collection of resources to further educate and explore.
Learn more about Juneteenth:
About Juneteenth - https://www.juneteenth.com/
NBC News - What to Know About Juneteenth
Celebrate African American Filmmakers and Artists from Hollywood’s Golden Age:
Prolific producer and director Oscar Micheaux is remembered as one of the most leading filmmakers in 20th century cinema, using his films to directly address racial issues.
Oscar got his start as a writer, taking his work on the road with his self-published book “The Homesteader,” based on his own experiences, which he sold door-to-door. The book caught the attention of filmmakers who wanted to adapt the book; however, Oscar refused to sell the rights, and in 1919 directed, wrote, and produced The Homesteader (1919) himself.
Over the next thirty years, Oscar would have a hand in over 40 productions. Incorporating every genre from musical to murder mystery, Micheaux used film as a means to expose the racial injustice against Black communities he saw in both the film industry and the world around him. The Film Detective’s collection of Oscar Micheaux works, including Lying Lips (1939) and God's Stepchildren (1938), is available here.
Additional Streaming Options to Educate on the Experiences of Black Americans and Racial Injustice: