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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).

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.