Slow Fade to Black: The Negro in American Film, 1900-1942
Set against the backdrop of the black struggle in society, Slow Fade to Black is the definitive history of African-American accomplishment in film - ... Show synopsis Set against the backdrop of the black struggle in society, Slow Fade to Black is the definitive history of African-American accomplishment in film - both before and behind the camera - from the earliest movies through World War II. Cripps explores the growth of discrimination as filmmakers became more and more intrigued with myths of the Old South - the "lost cause" aspect of the Civil War, the "happy" slaves singing in the fields - showing how these characterizations culminated in the blatently racist attitudes of Griffith's Birth of a Nation, and how this film led the N.A.A.C.P. to campaign vigorously, and successfully, for change. Cripps goes on to examine the period of the 1920s to 1940s, a time replete with stereotypical casting for African-Americans and largely unsuccessful attempts at independent black production. But with the coming of World War II also came increasing pressure for wider, more equitable use of blacks in films, leading eventually to more sympathetic casting of racial roles, such as that of Sam, the piano player in the 1942 classic Casablanca. A lively, thorough history of African-Americans in the movies, Show Fade to Black is also a perceptive social commentary on evolving racial attitudes in this country during the first four decades of the twentieth century.