: Slavery on Film Video Collection
The continuing lack of Oscar nominations for African American filmmakers and films who choose themes unrelated to slavery, servitude and poverty points to an enduring problem of representation and a lack of diversity in American popular culture. An analysis of the historical presentation of slavery and racial stereotypes is necessary to better understand the faults in American memory. From the earliest film versions of the “happy plantation” slaves of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1903 to Gone with the Wind (1939) and its romanticism of slavery, to The Foxes of Harrow (1947), the first film based on a novel by an African-American writer, Frank Yerby, to Haile Gerima's haunting independent film Sankofa (1993) and Steve McQueen’s Academy Award-winning historically accurate remake of Twelve Years a Slave (2013), based on Solomon Northrup’s bestselling memoir, first beautifully adapted by Gordon Parks for PBS in 1984 and released as Solomon Northrup’s Odyssey, the “peculiar institution”of slavery, has been the focus and/or backdrop of numerous feature and television miniseries film adaptations. LaGuardia Community College is building a collection of slavery-themed films many based on historically significant books to help support studies in American history and misrepresentations in popular culture.
These films are part of the Library's collection and can be viewed in the Library Media Lab or on-campus, online via the Libary Streaming Media Server.