Dead People You Should Know: Oscar Micheaux
By: Ebony Velez
Micheaux was born in Metropolis, Illinois on January 2, 1884. For several years, while he lived in Chicago, he began to write stories. Most of the experiences in his life became the overall topic of his first book, “The Conquest: The Story of a Negro Pioneer” ; which published in 1913 and is known as an autobiographical novel.
After facing financial hardships, he established his own publishing company, “The Western Book Supply Company.” Later, in 1917, he released a sequel to “The Conquest” called “The Homesteader” and his third novel after “The Forged Note”. After the publication of “The Homesteader”, Micheaux was approached by representatives to make a screen adaption of the novel, but failed because the company refused to let Micheaux direct the film.
Going through the failed deal, he transformed his publishing company to “The Micheaux Film and Book Company”. With enough money from selling stock, he began the production of “The Homesteader”. The film became to be the first feature-length film made by an African-American creator; This also launched Micheaux's screen career. Over three decades, Micheaux produced over 40 movies although most of them are lost now.