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African American Film and Television

Body and Soul (1925)

View or download a sample list of available titles and additional research resources at UCLA as a PDF.

To arrange onsite research viewing access at UCLA Powell Library, please contact the Archive Research and Study Center.

The UCLA Film & Television Archive holds a wide selection of motion picture and television titles made by and about African Americans. These films and programs span from the silent era to modern situation comedies and provide a unique opportunity to not only examine how the African American community has been represented in the commercial mainstream media, but also to explore the broad range of productions produced, created and directed by African Americans. Archive holdings include:

Oscar Micheaux

From the silent era, the Archive has some of Oscar Micheaux's so-called "race films"—all-Black features made for Black audiences. These films offered depictions of fully developed Black characters, a clear alternative to the simple stereotypes of mainstream cinema.

"Soundies"

"Soundies" were low-budget short films featuring popular music and dance of the 1940s. Cab Calloway, Fats Waller and Lena Horne were among the many talented Black musicians recorded for these precursors to music videos.

Other Films

The Member of the Wedding, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Gone with the Wind, Stormy Weather, Home of the Brave, The Defiant Ones, Richard Pryor Live On the Sunset Strip, Jumpin' Jack Flash, The Cool World, Cry, The Beloved Country, Broken Strings, Black Girl, Black Orpheus, Black Caesar, Black Jesus and Diva.

Television

Amos 'n' Andy, Beulah, The Cosby Show, Roots, Backstairs at the White House, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Sanford and Son, Good Times, The Jeffersons, A Raisin in the Sun and I Spy.

L.A. Rebellion Collection

In the late 1960s, in the aftermath of the Watts uprising, a group of African and African American students entered the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and created a unique cinematic landscape now referred to as the "L.A. Rebellion."

Mayme A. Clayton Film Collection

The Mayme A. Clayton Film Collection at UCLA consists of over 450 film holdings related to African American history and the portrayal of African Americans in film and television. Representations in the collection range from offensive Hollywood stereotypes to films produced, written and directed by Black filmmakers.

Other Resources

These libraries and archives hold collections important to the study of African Americans in film and television:

George P. Johnson Negro Film Collection
UCLA Library Special Collections
A1713 Charles E. Young Research Library
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu

Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division
101 Independence Ave. SE
James Madison Building, LM 336
Washington, D.C. 20540-4690
Email form

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
New York Public Library
515 Malcolm X Blvd.
New York, NY 10037
Email form

G. William Jones Film and Video Collection
Southern Methodist University
Hamon Arts Library
6100 Hillcrest Ave.
Dallas, TX 75275
Email: filmarchive@smu.edu

Black Film Center/Archive
Indiana University
Wells Library, Room 044
1320 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
Email: bfca@indiana.edu


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