U.Va. Art Museum Presents 1920 Silent Film by African-American Filmmaker Oscar Micheaux

September 25, 2007

Sept. 25, 2007 -- From Oct. 3, through Nov. 2, at 1 and 3 p.m. the University of Virginia Art Museum will present African-American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux’s 1920 silent film “Within Our Gates” in the museum’s media gallery.

Micheaux created the film in response to D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation,” released in 1915. A maverick and social activist, Micheaux's "Within Our Gates" is an indictment of a Southern lynching and the attempted rape of the mixed-race heroine by a white molester who turns out to be her father. Micheaux exposes the contradictions of Klan vigilantism and White America’s fears of miscegenation. Michaux’s film counters any defense of the Klan.

The museum is presenting Micheaux’s work in support of its thematic program “Forming American Identities: Our Southern Legacy,” which includes a colloquium titled “Cinematic Representations” on Oct. 30 at 5:30 p.m. in the museum. The panel discussion features presentations by Carmenita Higginbotham, assistant professor in the McIntire Department of Art at the University, and Jane Gaines, professor of English at Duke University.

The U.Va. Art Museum’s New Media Gallery is sponsored by Crutchfield and the Virginia Film Festival and is programmed by festival artistic director Richard Herskowitz and museum curator Andrea Douglas.

The museum is open to the public without charge Tuesday through Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Parking is available along Bayly Drive, off Rugby Road.

For more information call (434) 924-3592 or visit the museum Web site at www.virginia.edu/artmuseum.