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By Charlene B. Regester

9 actresses, from Madame Sul-Te-Wan in delivery of a kingdom (1915) to Ethel Waters in Member of the marriage (1952), are profiled in African American Actresses. Charlene Regester poses questions about triumphing racial politics, on-screen and off-screen identities, and black stardom and white stardom. She finds how those girls fought for his or her roles in addition to what they compromised (or did not compromise). Regester repositions those actresses to spotlight their contributions to cinema within the first 1/2 the twentieth century, taking an educated theoretical, historic, and important procedure. (2011)

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Additional resources for African American actresses: the struggle for visibility, 1900-1960

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74 Claudette Colbert is cast in the leading role as Barbara Clarke, who stands accused of practicing witchcraft. 75 Tituba’s blackness becomes a link to evil and because of the black female’s inescapable association with evil, Tituba, when juxtaposed to (that is, used as a shadow for) Clarke, becomes all the more symbolic of the occult. m a d a m e s u l - t e - wa nâ•… · â•… 33 While the film’s alleged misrepresentation of history may have disturbed the African American press, the press nevertheless applauded Sul-Te-Wan’s performance.

Madame failed again. . When [Bert Sutch] came back, he handed Madame a piece of soap. . Madame got real mad then. . She got madder and madder and by the time the scene was shot, she nearly blinded Miss Crowell with her soaped up spit. 35 Aside from these reports, there is barely any mention of Sul-Te-Wan with respect to this film. m a d a m e s u l - t e - wa nâ•… · â•… 25 The Birth of a Nation was one of the most disturbing films in American cinema because of the racial debate it provoked; surely her part as racial Other should be a significant part not only of her own story but also of the film’s history.

Earlier works on black women and the cinema industry that assumed a more political position frequently explored black women as spectators, as did Jacqueline Bobo’s Black Women as Cultural Readers (1995) and Black Women Film and Video Artists (1998), with the earlier work examining how black women as audiences or spectators responded to representations on screen and the later work examining the contributions of black women and video artists who have struggled to cultivate their own images of themselves.

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