FREDERICK DOUGLASS

FILM COMPANY

1915-1921?

Founded by prominent black figures, like Dr. George E. Cannon (1869-1925) and Reverend William Sylvester Smith, in the Lafayette area, the pioneering American film production company was established in 1916 to bring films made by African Americans to the mainstream.

The company produced three (or four?) films including "the Colored American Winning His Suit" (1916) which was made in rebuttal to D.W. Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation".





WHY IT IS IMPORTANT NOW

We continue to be inundated with way too many op-eds protesting the supposed CANCEL culture, but who is really canceled or erased from our cultural history? Almost everyone has heard of "the Birth of a Nation" and has seen its racist imagery. And almost no one has seen or heard of the many works that were made at that time to counter the negative portrayals of black people. According to John Gomez's article in the Jersey Journal, "despite the huge success of its initial offering, the Frederick Douglass Film Company found itself hindered by major film distribution corporations that used threats to effectively stop local theaters from featuring "colored" films." ("Black Film history in Hudson," The Jersey Journal, Feb 23, 2005, A10)

Demand to know our collective history. We are more than what they tell us.

THANKS TO

John Gomez