The House Behind the Cedars


The House Behind the Cedars is a 1927 silent race film directed, written, produced and distributed by the noted director Oscar Micheaux. It was loosely adapted from the 1900 novel of the same name by the African-American writer Charles W. Chesnutt, who explored issues of race, class and identity in the post-Civil War South. No print of the film is known to exist, and it is considered lost.[1] Micheaux remade the film in 1932 under the title Veiled Aristocrats.

The Virginia Censorship Board, an arm of white supremacy, at first banned the film from being shown in the state, saying it would threaten race relations. In 1924, the state had passed the Racial Integrity Act incorporating the one-drop rule into law for the first time. It classified as black for state record keeping any person with any known African ancestry, regardless of their self-identification or community. Although Micheaux made some cuts to get the film distributed, he wrote to the board: "There has been but one picture that incited the colored people to riot and that still does. [T]hat picture is Birth of a Nation."[2]

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