Proud of East Texas: Black Film Collection

By Joan Hallmark

In 1983, in a dusty Tyler warehouse, a treasure was discovered that would prove to be valuable, not only to black history, but to the entire film industry. SMU Professor Bill Jones discovered the stored film and it now resides in a climate controlled vault at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

The films, primarily shot in the Dallas area, were made entirely by African American writers, producers and technicians. Some professional black actors had roles, but passers by were often recruited for parts. What is as important as who made the film is the fact that the were made for black audiences instead of white and are a historical record of real life in the 30's and 40's, in sharp contrast to the stereotypical Hollywood films of the day.

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