The Silent Film Within Our Gates

Decent Essays
In 1920, Oscar Micheaux directed the silent film Within Our Gates which conducts an in-depth examination of race relations and discrimination within the United States. One of the outcomes of the film is a blatant failure of justice resulting in the lynching of an African American couple, The Landrys. Seemingly, time has not altered the inherent absence of justice concerning the treatment of Black men and women in situations where criminal activity is suspected, legitimately or otherwise. Evidence is found with the killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and many other Black victims who died at the hands of police who are tasked with upholding justice and fail to do so. However, what was the popular sentiment toward failure within the legal system between 1920 and 2015? While not representative of this entire time span, in 1962, Robert Mulligan’s film To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on race relations and an African American male wrongly accused of rape who is ultimately killed in a suspicious police shooting. Within Our Gates and To Kill a Mockingbird each offer a presentation of a gross miscarriage of justice that is obvious to the omniscient viewer, but the reaction the films garner from the audience varies from outrage to resignation due to the implementation (or lack thereof) of a visual stimuli, telling of the time period in which the films were produced.
The theme of “a failure of justice” for African Americans living in the present-day United States dates
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