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Black Cultural Production after Civil Rights$
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Robert J. Patterson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042775

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042775.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

Slavery Now

Slavery Now

1970s Influence Post–20th-Century Films on American Slavery

(p.72) Chapter 3 Slavery Now
Black Cultural Production after Civil Rights

Monica White Ndounou

University of Illinois Press

This chapter insists that films are the most visible monuments to slavery in the United States and that memories of slavery crucially shape African American identity formation. Miniseries like Roots and The Book of Negroes also demonstrate the possibilities of capturing the complexity of slavery from the perspective of enslaved Africans rather than white slavers. Ed Guerrero recognizes that this shift in viewpoint gained mainstream momentum due to the Black Power movement with studios attempting to attract black audiences with cinematic adaptations like Mandingo (1975), Drum (1976) and Roots. Independent filmmaker Haile Gerima filmed Sankofa (1993) over a twenty-year period starting in the 1970s. This chapter shows how post-20th century films about slavery can benefit from cinematic adaptations of the 1970s. It examines the format, economic data, narrative focus, casting, reception, and genre of a sampling of films to demonstrate how exploring or exploiting the perspective of the enslaved may affect subsequent films.

Keywords:   black films, Sankofa, Miniseries, Slavery, identity formation, black audiences

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