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15 January 2007

"Skinfolks" and "Kinfolks" - Racial Passing in American Films 1930 - 1960


This site, with plenty of photo images and a nice layout and page-linked design,was created by LMRT for the American Studies
Program at the University of Virginia in the summer of 2002.

I have nothing better to write, just to let you link and read . . . CLICK ON TITLE.


Characters with a desire to become something that they are not in order to escape their realities have been present from the earliest American films to the present. The popular encyclopedia of American cinema, Videohound, categorizes films with these characters under 'Not-So-Mistaken-Identity'. Of these 'not-so-mistaken identity' films, more than half of the characters in question are black passing as white. This reflects the American obsession with race, authenticity, and reinvention.

Oscar Micheaux used film to portray his own complex judgement regarding passing and miscegenation.

Many contemporary independent black filmmakers credit Oscar Micheaux with inspiring them to create films. Micheaux was a coal miner, pullman porter, homesteader, writer, businessman, and finally, a filmmaker. Grandson of a former slave, born in Illinois in 1884, and follower of Booker T. Washington, Micheaux believed in blacks creating their own resources. He was a self-made man who was determined to expose other blacks to middle class values.

There is also an interesting section to be viewed and read about Micheaux's early 30s films VEILED ARISTOCRATS and GOD'S STEPCHILDREN . You have to browse around to find it all.

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