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Lincoln Motion Picture Company, The (1915–1923)

film birth noble johnson

LINCOLN MOTION PICTURE COMPANY, THE (1915–1923). This Los Angeles-based production company was established in 1915 to produce and distribute motion pictures made exclusively for the black community. In the wake of the release of D. W. Griffith’s controversial and racist film The Birth of a Nation , 1915, popular sentiment in the African American community was that another film was needed to counteract the stereotypical portrayals of blacks, as seen in The Birth of a Nation . Character actors Noble Johnson and Clarence Brooks teamed with Dr. James T. Smith, a local druggist, and a white Universal Studios cameraman named Harry Gant to do just that. With a production office on Central Avenue, and a filming stage located on Tennessee Avenue in West Los Angeles, their first film was The Realization of a Negro’s Ambition , 1916. Once their first film was a success, Noble Johnson’s brother, George Johnson joined the company and they produced three additional films, Trooper of Company K , 1918; A Man’s Duty , 1919 (their first feature film); and By Right of Birth , 1921.

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