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Directed by Oscar Micheaux

United States 1920 73 mins.

Micheaux, the first Black filmmaker to gain prominence in the US, produced over 40 films during a long career working outside the mainstream, often utilizing meager budgets and production conditions not experienced in Hollywood. Within Our Gates, Micheaux’s second feature, is the most important African-American production of the era and was rumored (never confirmed by Micheaux) to have been made as a direct response to both the Chicago Race Riots of 1919 and  D.W. Griffith’s famously racist and KKK-backed The Birth of a Nation (1915). With a plot revolving around the failure of public education for the Black community in the South and the very real threat and enactment of racial violence, Micheaux spares very little in critiquing cultural and institutional racism, directly confronting the most pressing racial issues of the time, which are unfortunately still relevant today. Presumed lost for decades, Within Our Gates has been painstakingly restored and features a new soundtrack by Paul Miller (DJ Spooky).