17 user 12 critic

Within Our Gates (1920)

Not Rated | | Drama , Romance | 12 January 1920 (USA)
Abandoned by her fiancé, an educated black woman with a shocking past dedicates herself to helping a near bankrupt school for impoverished black youths.


Oscar Micheaux


Oscar Micheaux

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Evelyn Preer Evelyn Preer ... Sylvia Landry
Flo Clements Flo Clements ... Alma Prichard
James D. Ruffin James D. Ruffin ... Conrad Drebert - Sylvia's Fiancé
Jack Chenault Jack Chenault ... Larry Prichard - Alma's Stepbrother
William Smith William Smith ... Philip Gentry - A Detective
Charles D. Lucas Charles D. Lucas ... Dr. V. Vivian
Bernice Ladd Bernice Ladd ... Mrs. Geraldine Stratton
Mrs. Evelyn Mrs. Evelyn ... Mrs. Elena Warwick
William Starks William Starks ... Jasper Landry (as William Stark)
Mattie Edwards Mattie Edwards ... Jasper's Wife
Ralph Johnson Ralph Johnson ... Philip Gridlestone
E.G. Tatum E.G. Tatum ... Efram - Gridlestone's Servant
Grant Edwards Grant Edwards ... Emil Landry
Grant Gorman Grant Gorman ... Armand Gridlestone
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Leigh Whipper Leigh Whipper


Southern negro Sylvia Landry visits her cousin Alma in the north, where there is less racial prejudice than in her home town of Piney Woods in the deep south, and is anxiously awaiting her fiancé, Conrad. But Alma has designs on Conrad and tricks Sylvia into a compromising situation when he arrives, and he abandons her. Disheartened, she returns to Piney Woods to help a reverend running a school for young negroes. Sylvia learns that the reverend hasn't the heart to turn away poor students, and unless he can raise $5,000 to supplement the $1.49 per child per year that the state supplies, the school will be closed. She goes up north again to try to raise the money and has little success, but meets kindly negro, Dr. V. Vivian, who helps her regain her stolen purse. When she saves a child from being hit by an auto, she herself is slightly injured. But the owner of the car is philanthropist Mrs. Elena Warwick, who is sympathetic to her quest and promises to donate the $5,000 to the school.... Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Who Killed Philip Gridlestone? See more »


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

12 January 1920 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chocolate Kiddies See more »

Filming Locations:

Fort Lee, New Jersey, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies. See more »


[first lines]
Alma Prichard: Do pardon me for interrupting - but I forgot this...
See more »


Featured in Religion in Early African-America Cinema (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Peter Reiher got it right, but the ending is thoroughly odd
15 January 2009 | by morrisonhimselfSee all my reviews

Oscar Micheaux is one of my motion picture heroes.

With courage and determination, he set out to make movies for and about black people when it wasn't otherwise much done.

He was a pioneer in independent film-making, raising money in the most unusual places and unusual ways.

He deserves a lot of praise ... but, alas, his results were too often disappointing.

"Within Our Gates" has a lot of potential, but most of it is unmet.

The acting is pretty good, but the camera work and editing are lacking; and the script misses badly.

The story is a good one, and the school that is at the heart of a major subplot has a real-life counterpart: Professor Laurance Jones created a school for the black people of the piney woods near Jackson, Mississippi, in the very earliest years of the 20th century.

Professor Jones' story is incredibly inspiring and I urge everyone who cares about spirit and courage to take a look (http://www.antiqbook.com/boox/vol/21991.shtml is one source).

Micheaux and Jones have somewhat parallel lives, though Jones ultimately achieved recognition in his lifetime.

Micheaux should have, and I am grateful beyond words that at least his films are finally being seen by a wider audience.

They are flawed, yes, but they present two stories we all need to know about: The actual topic of the movie, and that of Micheaux himself.

The ending of this movie is, frankly, beyond my comprehension. It seems to come out of thin air, and I fear it must have been hastily tacked on in order to placate someone. Too bad, but still the movie is historically valuable.

This is added June 10, 2015: There is a print available at YouTube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1E0NrcnwAE

I haven't watched more than a few seconds, but so far it's a terrible print.

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