n African Renaissance - Black portraiture in Hollywood (2) case studies - Birth of a Nation & Star Wars - : Africa and the world

Volume 3, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


The final archetype of the black character emerged in D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915). The film is set before and after the Civil War and although a work of art, technically and artistically, seeks to reinforce the idea that the Black race should not be permitted equality by any means as the film ends with a ''forging of an alliance between Southern whites (Ben Cameron's ''Ku Klux Klan''), good-hearted Northerners (such as Elsie Stoneman), and ''loyal'' servants, all emblems of the harmonious bonds of this newborn nation.'' (Snead: p.39) As Snead suggests, throughout the film, there are continuous references which indicate 'courtship plots', which will serve to occupy the audience's attention, while the 'race and revenge' plot is unravelled. Both are shown to reach resolution at the same time.

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