Regarded as the first major African – American feature filmmaker.
Micheaux produced silent and sound films. He was born into a family of 13 in 1884 on a farm outside of Metropolis, IL. His farther Calvin Micheaux, a freed slave, decided with his wife to move their family into the city to give their children better education.
At 17, Micheaux moved to Chicago to live with his older brother. Soon later he found a job as a Pullman porter on the railroads and was able to afford a place of his own. Once he saved up enough money, Micheaux moved to South Dakota.
In South Dakota, he purchased land and worked as a homesteader. His time in South Dakota inspired him to write his first novel and film.
In 1913, he sold over a thousand copies of his first book The Conquest: The Story of a Negro Homesteader. Then in 1918, he published his novel The Homesteader which gained the attention of moviemakers in LA. When Micheaux asked to be hands on with the project the producers resisted and never produced the film.
That did not deter Micheaux. He went on to found the Micheaux Film & Book Company of Sioux City in Chicago. The company’s first project was The Homesteader.
During Micheaux’s career he produced over 40 films.
In 1930 he produced his second film Within Our Gates which you can watch below:
Here are a few others:
In 1951, Micheaux died of heart failure.
February 12, 2016