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Birth of a Nation

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On March 3, 1915 the movie The Birth of a Nation was released at the Liberty Theatre in New York City. This film was financed, filmed, and released by the Epoch Producing Corporation of D.W. Griffith and Harry T. Aitken. It was one of the first films to ever use deep-focus shots, night photography, and to be explicitly controversial with the derogatory view of blacks.

Throughout the movie, the film justified the need of the KKK in order to keep social harmony among society after the Civil War. In the beginning, the Cameron family was depicted as loving family and the slaves were depicted as sensible and content beings during the slave period. The chaos and madness started after the civil war during the Reconstruction period. Blacks were then portrayed as animalistic savages that were oppressing the rights of the white people in the community and threatened their livelihood. So, African Americans could only be placed into two categories in this movie. They were either the faithful servant or the renegade whose objective was to intimidate and terrorize white people. The black slaves are shown as noble beings that defended their masters against other black people. However, the black people in congress are shown as arrogant and ignorant with no manners.

This sort of subtly suggest that blacks proper role is to tend to the land and that they lack the sense and morals to be given them the same equality as a white person. If blacks were on the same level as whites, they would simply make a fool of themselves and at the same time cause harm to white citizens

Another big theme in this film as is that there should be no social or sexual integration between the white and black communities. This is cleverly shown through the mulatto characters Lydia Brown and Silas Lynch. These characters were stereotypically shown as being manipulative and corruptive when given power. Lydia was the servant for the Stoneman family who was overtly sexual in her scenes and was sneaky when Austin Stoneman comes out. Lynch obtains political power and becomes the symbol of black leadership. Lynch in the end of the film is corrupt and tries to force Austin Stoneman's daughter to marry him. During that scene he was drunk and sexually aggressive. One theme that is derived from this is that mixing of races causes a degeneration of the white race and that any mulatto will eventually regress to their black savage instinct. The second theme that comes from these



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