Published: 01/01/2012
ISBN: 9781848767904
Format: Paperback

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Out of the Shadows
Black women in film: 1900 – 1959
by Jacqueline Williams

Did you know that before Dooley Wilson was cast alongside Humphrey Bogart to play the iconic role of Sam in the 1942 film Casablanca, Lena Horne was considered for the part? However, America was not ready to see an interracial relationship – however platonic – between a black woman and a white man on the movie screen. If film censors of the day had not been squeamish, Ingrid Bergman could have delivered the famous request to play the song As Time Goes By to Lena Horne.

Out of the Shadows uncovers gems like this as it explores the contribution black women have made to movie making in the first half of the twentieth century. It is a revealing study of how black women have been portrayed on celluloid and how they have been used as sounding boards for a segregate America’s musings on American history – the civil war, Southern slavery, racial mixing and miscegenation. Out of the Shadows is also celebratory in hailing the careers of these early actors whose lives on the screen and in American society was shaped both by the complex interplay of gender and racial politics of a segregate America and a burgeoning civil rights movement which would come to fruition in the mass protests and civil disobedience of the sixties.

A work of cinematic history, Out of the Shadows will apply to film buffs and students.

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What's On, January 2012

Black History Month, 2011

I commend the work of women like Jacqueline Williams who want to extrat the truth from history and tell the real story of black women who had the strength and talent to become Stars of film despite all the layers of prejudice. They have important lessons to teach us all

by Clare Short


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