An unscrupulous minister starts a 'back to Africa' movement.


(as 'Bud' Pollard)


(story and adaptation), (dialogue)

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Cast overview:
A.B. DeComathiere ...
Deacon Charcoal Johnson (as A.B. Comethiere)
Vivianne Baber ...
Mary Lou Lawton
Knolly Mitchell ...
Dan Michaels ...
Brother Longtree
Mike Jackson ...
Brother Lawton
Mary Jane Watkins ...
Mrs. Bottoms
Harry Gray ...
Deacon Jones
Lorenzo Tucker ...
Carmichael, Attorney
Freeman Fairley ...
Mob Leader
Ismay Andrews ...
Mrs. Ashfoot
Trixie Smith ...
James Dunmore ...
Johnny Lee ...
Count of Zanzibar


Fiery preacher Charcoal Johnson, though no model of sanctity, gains control of a Mississippi Baptist church through personal magnetism; he uses this springboard to organize a 'Back to Africa' movement among his fellow afro-Americans, along the lines of evangelical religion. Weathering accusations of swindling, he emerges as the self-styled (future) Emperor of the United States of Africa. But his tin-plated pomp is threatened by greed, personalities, and practicalities... Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Riot of Fun


Comedy | Drama | Music





Release Date:

9 July 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Empire, Inc.  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Fair movie. Vivienne Baber and A.B. Comathiere keeps you watching.
17 December 2004 | by (Michigan) – See all my reviews

The movie is fair. What kept my attention mostly was Vivienne Baber and her exotic attractiveness, sleek presence, and her pleasing, natural dramatic acting. She's classy and glamorous. She plays Mary Lou...caught between good and evil. She seems perfect for the screen, she never overacts but is moving without being over-dramatic, wish she could of did more movies in Black Cinema but she was a popular actress on stage appearing in many Broadway plays. Black Cinema needed more true actresses such as Vivienne Baker. A.B. Comethiere is perfect as Deacon Charcoal Jackson who is a hypocritical preacher but at the same time trying to influence his people to go back to Africa where they can have power and freedom. But ego and backstabbing comes back on him and ruins the faith the people had in him and his name. The character Charcoal is supposedly is a portrayal of Marcus Garvey. A.B is funny, he eats the screen up, when he's present he overshadows everyone with his dramatic and comedic abilities. A.B. was one of the early greats of theater and race films. The cast includes some of the more well-known black actors and actresses of theater and screen, A.B. Comathiere, Vivienne Baber, and The Black Valentino Lorenzo Tucker, one of the most handsome men in movies, as the cool, smooth attorney, because of these three the film is substantial and worth watching.

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