fbpx Race Films | George Eastman Museum

The museum grounds will be closed nightly from 5 p.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday, July 14 through Sunday, July 21. We apologize for any inconvenience. The museum remains open during normal daytime hours and for scheduled film screenings. 

Race Films

“Race film” is a term coined to refer to films with Black casts created for Black audiences during the time period from 1915 to 1950. Some of these films were directed by white directors, but the form also created opportunities for Black filmmakers like Oscar Micheaux. These films also enabled Black performers—such as successful stage actors Paul Robeson and Charles Gilpin—to eschew the stereotypes and stock characters normally found in Hollywood fare in favor of better-defined characters that often lived and worked within Black communities. These films would frequently focus on the tension within these communities as well as social issues such as education and economic mobility. While more than five hundred short and feature-length race films were produced, less than one hundred survive today, and only a portion of those are silents. This summer, the Dryden Theatre presents four silent feature-length race films as they were meant to be seen—on film, with an audience, with live accompaniment.


Events in this Series