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Birth of a Nation Essay

Birth of a Nation Essay

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The Birth of a Nation is an American silent drama film. D. W. Griffith directed it in 1915, and he based it on Thomas Dixon's novel The Clansman. He co-wrote its screenplay with Frank E. Woods. Harry Aitken was the co-producer. The release date was February 8, 1915, and it was in two parts. An intermission separated them.

The Birth of a Nation was the first 12-reel film in the United States. It chronicles the relationship between two families during the American Civil War and also the Reconstruction-era. There was the pro-Confederacy Southern Camerons and the pro-Union Nothern Stonemans. It was over a period of several years. There is also President Abraham Lincoln's assassination by John Wilkes Booth, in the plot (Bogle, 1973).

The Birth of a Nation was a success. However, it was controversial because of its portrayal of black men. Some white actors in blackface played the roles. It displayed them as unintelligent and also sexually aggressive. Ku Klux Klan's character as a heroic force was also a cause. African-Americans protested it in Boston while the whites flocked to view the film. The NAACP led the campaign to ban it. However, it was unsuccessful.

Griffith's indignation at the censorship or banning of the Birth of a Nation led to his production of Intolerance the next year. It also inspired the ''second era'' Ku Klux Klan in Georgia (Addams, 1915).

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