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The Symbol of the Unconquered (1920)

TV-PG | | Drama | 29 November 1920 (USA)
Racists learn that the land a negro owns lies over a vast oil field, and threaten his life when he refuses to sell.





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Complete credited cast:
Iris Hall ...
Walker Thompson ...
Hugh Van Allen
Lawrence Chenault ...
Jefferson Driscoll
Mattie Wilkes ...
Mother Driscoll
Louis Dean ...
August Barr (as Louis Déan)
Leigh Whipper ...
Tugi - an Indian Fakir
Jim Burris
E.G. Tatum ...
James Burrough
George Catlin ...
Dick Mason


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 <genart@volcano.net>

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Release Date:

29 November 1920 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Symbol of the Unconquered: A Story of the Ku Klux Klan  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(TCM print)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The only surviving print of this film is in the collection of the Cinematheque Royale in Belgium. Its title cards are in French and Flemish. They have been translated back, from French, into English. See more »


Title Card: Jefferson Dirscoll, one of the many mulattos who conceal their origins. Since that cursed moment in which his mother had involuntarily betrayed the secret of this race. Driscoll had developed a ferocious hatred for the black race, from which he was born.
See more »


Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.21 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Good Early Race Film
28 February 2008 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Symbol of the Unconquered, The (1920)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Strange film from the black independent director Oscar Micheaux. A light skinned black woman travels North to get her inheritance that her grandfather left her. In this new town she meets another black man who hates his race and pretends to be wife, an evil Indian and eventually the KKK. The director apparently started making these "black films" in response to how blacks were being shown at the time so on a historical level this film is pretty interesting but as a film it really never takes off. The stereotypes are pretty out there and laughable and the film is way too over-dramatic in every single scene. The film was originally promoted to black people claiming that the KKK would be massacred in the film. That happens but sadly this scene is lost so we're not able to view it today. I guess you could call this one of the first "blaxploitation" films, although the director never makes all the whites bad and all the blacks good. It's rather interesting seeing his hatred towards certain members of his own race. Another down note is the horrible music score added to the film. Again, for film history sake this is a must see but on its own there's really nothing too special here. I also recorded the director's Within the Gates and Body and Soul, which are apparently better.

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