Who was Oscar Micheaux?

Oscar’s Gift Reading Guide: Day 1

Who was Oscar Micheaux?

oscar_micheauxMost people who are aware of Oscar Micheaux know him as America’s first major African-American feature filmmaker. Born in 1884 in Metropolis, Illinois, Micheaux would eventually produce over forty films, both silent and talkies. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and his own USPS Black Heritage Stamp.

I first became aware of Oscar when doing some family research about the Rosebud Indian Reservation during the first part of the 20th century, and I learned that he had owned land in both Tripp County and Gregory County, where my grandparents lived. Micheaux is perhaps best known for his film making, but I was most fascinated by his childhood, his time as a Pullman Porter, his life as a homesteader, and his career as a novelist. He was an indie author before the term was in vogue, an entrepreneur, and a lifelong learner.

The following video provides a good background to Micheaux’s varied and fascinating life. You can also download an Oscar Micheaux education kit (pdf) from the U.S. Postal Service.

Oscar Micheaux from Total Vision Media onVimeo

Click HERE for the full Reading Guide.

Oscar’s Gift: Planting Words with Oscar Micheaux is available from Amazon as a paperback and ebook.

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