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Posters Of Pride And Prejudice

December 2023
1min read


For the first 50 years of the American film industry, if any black performers appeared in movies, they were usually confined to a narrow range of small parts. The same went for those who worked behind the scenes. The exceptions were so-called race movies, aimed at African-American audiences, which allowed blacks the same latitude for dramatic expression, from cheesy to profound, as their white colleagues. Many of these films have been lost, but their promotional posters survive, as do those from later days, when black performers began moving into the mainstream. A century of these fascinating historic documents has been collected in Close Up in Black: African American Film Posters , a traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibition that will open at the California African American Museum, in Los Angeles, on August 2 and tour the country for the next two years. Collectively, the posters provide a unique reflection of the larger story of African-Americans’ struggle for equality. Information on this and many other traveling Smithsonian exhibits can be found at .

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