The Birth of a Nation
The Birth of a Nation is a 1915 silent movie. It was directed by D. W. Griffith. It was based on The Clansman by Thomas Dixon, Jr. It is a long movie. It was first shown in two parts. There was an intermission between the parts. The movie is about two families during the American Civil War and the Reconstruction. The Northern Stoneman family is pro-Union and the Southern Cameron family is pro-Confederacy. The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth is dramatized.
The movie was a great success. It was very controversial though. It showed African American men (played by white actors in blackface) as stupid and sexually aggressive towards white women. It also showed the Ku Klux Klan as a heroic force. There were protests. The movie was banned in several cities. The outcry of racism was great.
The movie is also credited in part with the formation of the "second era" Ku Klux Klan the same year. The Birth of a Nation was used as a recruiting tool for the KKK. It was the first movie to be shown at the White House. President Woodrow Wilson was reported to have said the film was "like writing history with lightning. And my only regret is that it is all so terribly true." The attribution is disputed.
- Armstrong, Eric M. (February 26, 2010). "Revered and Reviled: D.W. Griffith’s ‘The Birth of a Nation’". The Moving Arts Film Journal. http://themovingarts.com/revered-and-reviled-d-w-griffiths-the-birth-of-a-nation/. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
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