Black Cinema House presents selected films from the Pioneers of African-American Cinema collection in the Glass Lantern Slides Room. Among the most fascinating chapters of film history is that of the so-called “race films” that flourished in the 1920s-40s. Unlike the “black cast” films produced within the Hollywood studio system, these films not only starred African-Americans but were funded, written, produced, edited, distributed and often exhibited by people of color. Entrepreneurial filmmakers built an industry apart from the Hollywood establishment, cultivating visual and narrative styles that were uniquely their own.
“From the perspective of cinema history — and American history, for that matter — there has never been a more significant [collection] than Pioneers of African-American Cinema. This was the first alternative American cinema, the precursor to today’s independent films.”