Eve Mason, a very light-skinned negro, leaves Selma, Alabama for the northwest town of Oristown to occupy the land she inherited from her grandfather. There she meets kindly Hugh Van Allen, who turns out to be her neighbor, and he gives her a lift to her place outside of town. Jefferson Driscoll is another very light-skinned negro who wants to be taken as white, and he hates the negro race because his mother once interfered with his wooing a white girl. Driscoll gets in league with unsavory August Barr, an Indian fakir called Tugi, and horse thieves Bill Stanton and Philip Clark. When Driscoll intercepts a letter for Van Allen showing his land is on an oil field, the group posts notes on Van Allen's tent, threatening his life if he won't sell his land. Van Allen ignores the the notes, which are signed "The Knights of the Black Cross," leaves for town to buy furniture and won't be back for 48 hours. In his absence, the last note is posted, giving him 48 hours to sell. The group, led by... Written by
Arthur Hausner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Oscar Micheaux's The Symbol of the Unconquered is an interesting curio of early black cinema
In preparation of reviewing a month of African-American films for Black History Month in chronological order (whenever possible), I looked up Google Video for the earliest available movie from the Negro pioneer, Oscar Micheaux. The Symbol of the Unconquered: A Story of the Ku Klux Klan was what I found on YouTube. It wasn't under that heading but that of the William Hooker Quartet whose members are Hooker on drums, Okkyung Lee on cello, Ras Moshe on saxophone and flute, and Sabir Matteen on sax also. The drums dominated the underscore to the first 20 minutes before all the other instruments came into play. I thought that score was pretty compelling for the story presented on the screen with the band being visually dissolved during the inter-titles. The plot itself, about a racist group-one of whom is a mulatto who hates blacks with a passion-that tries to scare a black owner, named Van Allen, of a valuable property off was something that had to be addressed after D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation. Too bad that scene of the Klan being defeated by another black man throwing bricks at them is currently lost as that would have made it a very exciting picture indeed. As it is, there's still the mulatto woman, Eve, whose happy ending with Van Allen is all but assured after things are cleared up that provides some fascination with the way Micheaux seems to like to present a light-skinned woman as more worthy of the hero than one with more darker skin or maybe I'm reading too much into the plot line. Worth a look once for anyone curious about the earliest days of the cinema.
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