The Screen Actors Guild Ethnic Employment Opportunities Committee gives praise to the U.S. Postal Service for its latest choice in stamp honorees.
The 33rd stamp in the Black Heritage series honors pioneering filmmaker Oscar Micheaux (1884-1951), who wrote, directed, produced and distributed more than 40 movies during the first half of the 20th century. An ambitious, larger-than-life figure, Micheaux thrived at a time when African-American filmmakers were rare, venues for their work were scarce, and support from the industry did not exist.
“What a great example to us all Micheaux is,” said L. Scott Caldwell, national chair of the SAG Ethnic Employment Opportunities Committee. “We think the entertainment industry is challenging today, but imagine what it was like for a black filmmaker in the late 1800s! His story reminds us that talent and perseverance are everything.”
Micheaux’s entrepreneurial spirit and independent vision continue to inspire new generations of filmmakers and artists. Forgotten after his death, Micheaux was rediscovered in the late 1960s by South Dakota historians and in the 1970s by film historians interested in early black cinema.
Although only 15 of his movies are known to have survived in whole or in part, Micheaux has become a cinematic icon. In 1986, he was posthumously awarded a special Directors Guild of America award. In 1995, the Producers Guild of America established the Oscar Micheaux Award to honor “an individual or individuals whose achievements in film and television have been accomplished despite difficult odds.”
A first-day-of-issue party will be held Tuesday, June 22 at the Columbia University School of the Arts in New York at 11 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.