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Campus Resources

Oscar Micheaux Lectures on Race and Media

The Oscar Micheaux Lectures on Race and Media is a new, annual series featuring speakers whose work at the intersections of race and media continues to raise the provocative questions posed by the pioneering Black author/filmmaker for whom the series is named.

The inaugural 2004 Lectures featured independent filmmaker/digital media artist Carroll Parrott Blue on her innovative print/DVD memoir project, The Dawn at My Back, and scholar Brian Cremins on Oscar Micheaux’s rarely discussed detective novels.

The series is co-sponsored by the Film Studies Center and the Race/Film Study Group.

2004 Oscar Micheaux Lecturers

May 21, 2004
Carroll Parrott Blue
Documentary Filmmaker, University of Central Florida
“The Dawn at My Back:
Memoir of a Texas Upbringing, An Interactive Cultural History”

Carroll Parrott Blue presents her stunning new DVD-ROM, which makes her personal story and its historical background come to life. Blue turns her lens on her mother's and her own lives as African American women in the segregated South before and during the Civil Rights era. This mother-daughter story foregrounds two strong women who fought institutionalized racism—one through community activism, the other through artistic creativity—even as the effects of racism and their differing responses to it frayed the very fabric of their relationship.

Users navigate through mindscapes of Blue's "Homeland" and "Hell" where they find beautifully interwoven visual and aural traces of people, buildings, media images, and events that shaped the community's struggle against racism and Blue's development as an artist.

May 27, 2004
Brian Cremins
Assistant Professor, Department of English, Louisiana State University
“Oscar Micheaux's Afro-Modernist Detective Novels and his Revision of the Pulp Fictions of the 1930s”

Oscar Micheaux's pioneering films have influenced filmmakers ranging from Ken Jacobs to Spike Lee, and have received a great deal of critical attention in the last ten years. Despite the growing awareness of Micheaux the filmmaker, Micheaux the novelist is less well known and remains a mystery for most scholars of African American literature. Micheaux's seven self-published novels provide us with a vital record of his varied experiences as a Pullman car porter, South Dakota homesteader, and urban raconteur and filmmaker.

Most fascinating are his two detective novels of the 1940s, The Case of Mrs. Wingate and The Story of Dorothy Stanfield, both of which examine and critique the conventions of the era's pulp fictions and B-movie serials while promising readers stories of "human interest, as intense, suspenseful and dynamic as an atomic bomb!" As products of a protean, modern multimedia artist, Oscar Micheaux's late novels document his numerous strategies of resistance in a popular culture glutted with degrading images of African Americans.