Origins of William Monroe Trotter (05:12)
Boston was the birthplace of freedom in America and a magnet for skilled African-American workers and activists. James Trotter moved his family to Boston to join an African American regiment in the Union Army; he later became a prominent figure in real estate. William Monroe Trotter attended Harvard where he became close with W.E.B. Dubois.
Origins of D. W. Griffith (10:38)
Griffith was born in Louisville, Kentucky to Lt. Col. Jake Griffith; his family taught him a romanticized and racist version of the "Old South." Following the Civil War Griffith was among a group of acting troops. Booker T. Washington signaled a change in African American Leadership, leading to Trotter's founding of The Guardian newspaper.
Early Days of Film (05:20)
Griffith is credited with creating a number of innovative film techniques. Trotter was concerned with politicians in Washington D.C. and called out President Wilson during the resurgence of segregation in the United States.
Birth of the New White Supremacy (10:57)
Griffith based his film "The Birth of a Nation" off "The Clansman" written by Thomas Dixon. Filmmaker Reginald Hudlin shares moments in the film he finds to be the most racist. Skilled marketing drew a large audience, making it the world's first blockbuster. Spike Lee talks about his film "The Answer" in response to "The Birth of a Nation."
Racial Injustice in Film (08:17)
"The Birth of a Nation" was the first film screened inside the White House; it was President Wilson's symbolic embrace of the racial propaganda created by Griffith and Dixon. Despite the efforts of the NAACP, the film received the stamp of approval and quickly became the most successful picture during the silent film era. Trotter prepared to fight the showing in Boston.
Future of American Civil Rights (10:44)
In April 1915, Trotter and local NAACP leaders prepared to fight the showing of "The Birth of a Nation" in Boston; massive protests were organized. Trotter set the tone for the modern Civil Rights Movement in America with his unrelenting fight for equality.
Credits: Birth of a Movement (00:36)
Credits: Birth of a Movement
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