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With a Crooked Stick

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction Chapter One: Biographical Backstory Chapter Two: Within Our Gates (1920) Chapter Three: Symbol of the Unconquered (1920) Chapter Four: Body and Soul (1925) Chapter Five: The Sound Era-Signifying with Music Chapter Six: The Exile (1931) Chapter Seven: The Darktown Revue (1931) Chapter Eight: Veiled Aristocrats (1932) Chapter Nine: Ten Minutes to Live (1932) Chapter Ten: The Girl from Chicago (1932) Chapter Eleven: Murder in Harlem (1935) Chapter Twelve: Underworld (1937) Chapter Thirteen: God's Step Children (1938) Chapter Fourteen: Birthright (1938-39) Chapter Fifteen: Swing! (1938) Chapter Sixteen: Lying Lips (1939) Chapter Seventeen: The Notorious Elinor Lee (1940) Chapter Eighteen: Conclusion Appendix One: Short Filmography Appendix Two: Jubilee-African-American Spirituals Appendix Three: Sources for Obtaining Micheaux's Films Appendix Four: Review of Selected Websites Bibliography of Citations Index

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Choice Outstanding Academic Title (2005)

About the Author

J. Ronald Green is Professor of Film Studies in the Department of History of Art at Ohio State University. He is author of Straight Lick: The Cinema of Oscar Micheaux (IUP, 2000).


"Following up on his outstanding Straight Lick: The Cinema of Oscar Micheaux (CH, Mar'01), Green focuses on 15 of the more than 40 all-black films the African American novelist-director made between 1919 and 1948. The biographical chapter sharply outlines the US racial context, Micheaux's challenges as a prototypical independent, and autobiographical elements in his films and seven novels. Between his treatment of the silents and the sound films, the author pauses to examine Hollywood's black-cast musicals, whose theme of spiritual uplift Micheaux always subordinated to class advancement. Anticipating the poststructuralists, Micheaux's brand of musical quotation .. directly serves his principal rhetorical concern: the treating of the disease of ethnic caricature. Despite a somewhat formulaic analysis of the films, Green clearly establishes Micheaux's unrelenting critique of white supremacism and black complicity, his strong and original style, and his promotion of moderation, independence, and ethical integrity for class uplift. Green argues that even the antithetical successes of Van Peebles/Burnett and Cosby/Winfrey/Singleton/Lee have not achieved an institutionalized cinema of the middle classes, a cinema worthy of Micheaux's prior accomplishment. Green appends an insightful study of African American spirituals to this learned, passionate, and persuasive study of a fascinating artist. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers."--M. Yacowar, University of Calgary , Choice , October 2004

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