The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

interest in these towns. I would have found his arguments more persuasive had
he conducted equally exhaustive research and analysis of a comparable number
of white towns. Perhaps that is asking too much for one text.
Hamilton is at his empirical best when he describes the disparate internal in-
stitutional building processes at work in these communities. He has done more
research on more of the black towns than anyone else. Whereas earlier scholars
and writers tended to concentrate on a single town, Hamilton writes knowingly
about five, although he pays disproportionate attention to Mound Bayou. Black
Towns and Profit, like Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier (1983)
by Juliet E. K. Walker, is a clearly written, thoughtful, and important work.
Hamilton and other scholars, including Thomas Cox and Janet Sharp Hermann,
have unveiled some of the multilayered complexities of African American pasts.
Notable features of Hamilton's book include two useful appendices. The first
names the fifty black towns, and the second is a fascinating bibliographic essay
that will prove most useful if read at the outset.
Michigan State University DARLENE CLARK HINE
Black Cinema Treasures: Lost and Found. By G. William Jones. (Denton: University
of North Texas Press, 1991. Pp. 242. Foreword, introduction, black-and-
white photographs, illustration, appendices, index. $29.95.)
In August, 1983, a warehouse manager called the offices of the Southwest
Film and Video Archives at Southern Methodist University to come and have a
look at "what appears to be some old film" (p. 13). When G. William Jones ar-
rived on the scene, he discovered a cache of approximately ioo movies, among
which were twenty-one rare titles that represented the little-known independent
black American cinema that flourished from the 192os to the 1950s. Although
endangered by nitrate disintegration, which causes old film stock to crumble in-
to yellowish-brown powder, the films were intact. Black Cznema Treasures is a clear
and simple documentation of the resulting collection, now housed at SMU. It
provides plot synopses, credits, and frame enlargements from movies that the av-
erage person does not even know exist.
The collection is significant aesthetically because it contains works by the
great Oscar Micheaux, "The Father of Independent Black Filmmaking," and by
William Alexander and George Randol, two pioneer black producers; and such
movies as Juke Joint (1947), directed by Spencer Williams, better known for his
role as Andy Brown in the Amos 'n Andy radio series.
The collection's unique newsreel material reminds viewers of the roles blacks
played in history, which are still frequently unremembered and undocumented.
Two examples from the 1953-1956 period chronicle the departure of thirty-six
marine reservists, both black and white, from Baltimore to Parris Island, and an-
other shows the Chicago Bears meeting the Baltimore Colts in Baltimore's
Memorial Stadium, with one famous black star playing for each team: Lenny
Moore, out of Penn State, for Baltimore and Bobby Watkins, out of Ohio State,
for Chicago.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117154/. Accessed August 29, 2014.