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Micheaux's film attempted to challenge that films message by showing that whites were more likely to harm blacks than the other way around.
Over the next three decades of what would prove to be a prolific career, Micheaux would make more than 40 films. He would also accomplish two significant firsts: In 1931, his film The Exile became the first full-length sound feature by an African American, and 1948's Betrayal, Micheaux's last film,
was the first African American-produced film to open in white theaters.
Oscar Micheaux died on March 25, 1951, while on a promotional tour in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was buried at the Great Bend Cemetery in Great Bend, Kansas, the home of his youth. The inscription on his gravestone reads, "A Man Ahead of His Time."
For his contributions to film, in 1986, the Directors Guild of America posthumously named Micheaux a recipient of the Golden Jubilee Special Directorial Award. In 1987, he received a star on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame.
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From stereotypical roles as maids and cooks to Academy Award-winning performances in blockbuster movies, African Americans have come a long way in the world of film and television. Early stars like Sidney Poitier and Hattie McDaniel may have been the first actors to win awards for their stellar performances, but modern-day actors such as Denzel Washington and Halle Berry are still breaking new ground as the first African Americans to win Oscars, Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards in certain categories. Learn more about the African-American actors who became the first to change the fabric of film and TV with their dramatic performances.
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