Faculty Bulletin Board

UCLA faculty members discuss silent race films at L.A. museum

Ellen Scott and Miriam Posner

Scott and Posner

Bringing UCLA’s scholarship into the community, Miriam Posner, UCLA digital humanities program coordinator, led a discussion with professor of cinema and media studies Ellen Scott on the history of the silent race film at the California African American Museum on Sept. 6.

Over the last few years, Posner has led students through projects that highlight the work of African Americans in the early days of film. Posner oversaw the creation of “Early African American Film: Reconstructing the History of Silent Race Films, 1909–1930,” a website and database that tracks the African-American actors, crewmembers, writers, producers and other artists who were making films during the silent era. The website led to two exhibitions on African American contributions in silent race films, specifically the contributions of African American women.

One exhibit, “The Industry of Uplift: Silent Race Film, The Lincoln Motion Picture Company, and George P. Johnson,” is in the UCLA Library Special Collections and the other is at the California African American Musuem. That exhibit, “Center Stage: African American Women in Silent Race Films,” came together after the museum's curator read a story about the website and database project and is on display until Oct. 15 at the museum in Exposition Park.

Posner and Scott explored ways in which the history of silent race film has evolved with the expansion of available media due to projects such as those led by Posner.

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