Proud Of East Texas: The Tyler, Texas Black Film Collection

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. When SMU professor Bill Jones was called by a Tyler warehouse owner to look at some discarded canisters of discarded film, he never dreamed of the riches they would contain.

The 30 assorted film were made in the 30s and 40s for black audiences by African-American screenwriters, directors, technicians and actors. They were entirely different from he stereotype movies containing black actors made in Hollywood for white audiences. Their importance to history is unmatched.

It's a miracle that the film survived so many years in an unheated, unairconditioned warehouse. Few others did survive and the Tyler Black Films are a true treasure.  It's hoped that future grants will preserve the remaining film.

Joan Hallmark, Reporting.