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“A United Stand and a Concerted Effort”: Black Cinema-going in Harlem and Jacksonville During the Silent Era

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Abstract

American cinema-going during the silent film era was structured along a strict colour line. While racist prejudice was rampant all over the country, segregation worked according to different principles depending on the specific locality. In Jim Crow states, it was mandated by law; in Northern States, it was often a matter of custom. In fact, the state of New York passed a legislation that made discrimination based on “race, color, creed” a civic offense in 1909. This chapter draws on archival records—fire insurance maps, and articles from the Black weeklies, as well as the established scholarship—to zoom on the history of Black movie-going in two urban settings: Harlem, New York; and Jacksonville, Florida. In doing so, it aims to capture some of the ways in which African Americans made sense of, and fought against, mistreatment.

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Acknowledgements

Part of this work pertaining to Harlem, authored by Agata Frymus, was produced as part of Black Cinema-Going project, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Marie Skłodowska Curie grant agreement no. 792629.

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Correspondence to Agata Frymus .

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Morton, D., Frymus, A. (2024). “A United Stand and a Concerted Effort”: Black Cinema-going in Harlem and Jacksonville During the Silent Era. In: Treveri Gennari, D., Van de Vijver, L., Ercole, P. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Comparative New Cinema Histories. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-38789-0_4

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