Christiansburg Library program to honor filmmaker Oscar Micheaux on Jan. 5
Oscar Micheaux, an early 20th-century Roanoke filmmaker, will be remembered at the Christiansburg Library, 125 Sheltman St., on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 11 a.m. The program will feature a 2011 video created by Halifax Community College in North Carolina for the dedication of a U.S. postage stamp in Micheaux’s honor. The program is being presented in conjunction with the Library of Virginia’s traveling exhibition African American Trailblazers 2012 that is on display at the library through Jan. 6.
Oscar Micheaux was born in Illinois and moved as a young man to South Dakota. He came to Roanoke ’s Gainsboro neighborhood in 1922 and made several films in the area. In 1925 he moved to New York and achieved further fame as part of the Harlem Renaissance. Micheaux was the first African-American to produce a feature-length film (The Homesteader circa 1918) and a sound feature-length film (The Exile in 1931). He is celebrated not just for these milestones, but because he is a symbol of the artist triumphing over long odds to bring his vision to the public at large while serving in the socially important role of critical spirit.
“One of the greatest tasks of my life has been to teach that the colored man can be anything,” Micheaux said. He used the new medium of the motion picture to communicate his ideas in order to rebut racism and to raise the consciousness of African-Americans in an age of segregation and overt, legal racism.
African American Trailblazers 2012 honors eight African Americans whose talents and creativity promoted equality and inclusion in American society. In addition to Oscar Micheaux (1884-1951), honorees for 2012 are Noah Davis (1804-1867), author of an emancipation narrative; John Jasper (1812-1901), Richmond clergyman; Irene Morgan (1917–2007), principal in civil rights lawsuit Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia (1946); James Farmer (1920-1999), Civil Rights leader, director of the Congress of Racial Equality and initiator of the Freedom Rides; Willie Lanier, professional football player and entrepreneur; Yvonne Bond Miller, first African American woman elected to the Virginia House of Delegates and to the Virginia Senate; and Michael L. Blakey, anthropologist.
For more information, contact Pamela Hale at 382-6965, ext 14 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Submitted by Linda Spivey, Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library
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