March 25, 1951 Oscar Devereaux Micheaux, author and film director, died. Micheaux was born January 2, 1884 in Metropolis, Illinois. He formed his own movie production company and in 1919 became the first African American to write, direct, and produce a motion picture, “The Homesteader.” Between 1919 and 1948, Micheaux wrote seven novels and wrote, directed, and produced 44 feature films, including “Within Our Gates” (1919), which attacked the racism depicted in “The Birth of a Nation,” and “Body and Soul” (1924) which introduced Paul Robeson.
In 1986, the Directors Guild of America posthumously honored Micheaux with a Golden Jubliee Special Award and the Oscar Micheaux Award is presented annually by the Producers Guild of America. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Micheaux has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 1994 a documentary, “Midnight Ramble,” was released about him. In 2010, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor. His biography, “Oscar Micheaux, the Great and Only: The Life of America’s First Black Filmmaker,” was published in 2007. The Oscar Micheaux Center in Gregory, South Dakota annually presents the Oscar Micheaux Film & Book Festival.