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Birthright PG rating

Oscar Micheaux directs the story of a Harvard graduate whose attempts to establish a rural school runs into opposition from both races.

Drama 1938 74 mins Silent

Director: Oscar Micheaux



Pioneering black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux’s remake of his own earlier silent film has strong echoes of his own life story. The story of an idealistic Harvard graduate who attempts to establish a rural school, encountering opposition from both races, has some similarities to Micheaux’s own history as a former homesteader who believed African Americans should face the fight back home and resist the rush to the big cities.

Birthright was one of a number of ‘race’ films produced by Oscar Micheaux for the consumption of black audiences during the time of segregation. Star Ethel Moses (aka S.O. Moses) was a Harlem stage celebrity who had a briefly successful film career, leading to her billing as 'The Black Jean Harlow'.