“Only the colored people themselves can determine their political, social and economic future.”

William Monroe Trotter

Prof. EA Kiss

This course surveys a hidden canon of African American film while also uncovers the roots of representational injustice in Hollywood and the secret, but cardinal role Woodrow Wilson played in the production and distribution of Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” that led to the rebirth of the KKK. Wilson’s policy of segregation was adapted by Hollywood as a self-censoring industry regulation of representation. Black people could only appear on screen as subservient and marginal characters, never as equals, partners or leaders. This industry code, Wilson’s legacy, has become second nature to Hollywood.


Afrofuturism versus Wagnerian Ethno-Epic

Film montage on “The Ride of the Valkyries” in films; film essay on Wagnerism vs Afrofuturism; James Monroe Trotter museum vitrine; George E. Lewis museum vitrine

Class Interview with George E. Lewis

Composer, Professor of American Music, Columbia University

Music and Some Highly Musical People

James Monroe Trotter


The Klansman

Thomas Dixon


“Princess Steel”

W.E. B. Du Bois


The Comet

W.E. B. Du Bois


Black Panther

Ryan Coogler



Giovanni Pastrone


“The Ride of the Valkyries”

Richard Wagner

“The Battle of the Books” in A Century of Infamy

William Peirce Randel