Independent Lens (1999– )
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The story of William Monroe Trotter, the nearly forgotten editor of a Boston black newspaper who tried to ban the controversial film The Birth of a Nation (1915).

Directors:

Bestor Cram, Susan Gray

Writers:

Kwyn Bader, Dick Lehr
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Bob Bellinger Bob Bellinger ... Himself
David Blight David Blight ... Himself
Vincent Brown Vincent Brown ... Himself
Dolita Cathcart Dolita Cathcart ... Herself
Jelani Cobb Jelani Cobb ... Himself
Ira Gallen Ira Gallen ... Himself
Henry Louis Gates ... Himself
Danny Glover ... Narrator
D.W. Griffith ... Himself (archive footage)
Reginald Hudlin ... Himself
Walter Huston ... Himself (archive footage)
Spike Lee ... Himself
Dick Lehr Dick Lehr ... Himself
Charles Musser Charles Musser ... Himself
Samuel D. Pollard Samuel D. Pollard ... Himself
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Storyline

The story of William Monroe Trotter, the nearly forgotten editor of a Boston black newspaper who tried to ban the controversial film The Birth of a Nation (1915).

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

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Details

Release Date:

6 February 2017 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Company Credits

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Did You Know?

Connections

Features An Unseen Enemy (1912) See more »

Soundtracks

The Ride Of The Valkyrie
Composed by Richard Wagner
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User Reviews

 
Informative Hour on Film Controversy
14 September 2018 | by lchadbou-326-26592See all my reviews

The Birth of a Movement is an informative and mostly accurate PBS documentary centering on a not so well known Boston based scholar and journalist who led an impassioned fight against the popular Griffith epic The Birth of a Nation at a time when the US civil rights struggle was just finding its footing.The accommodationist, compromising approach advocated by Booker T Washington was giving way to a more radical strategy argued for by W E B Du Bois, who had been a fellow Harvard graduate with the film,s subject (William Monroe Trotter) .After the film opened in Manhattan, Trotter tried to get Boston,s mayor Curley (later the hero of the Ford film The Last Hurrah) and a three member censorship board to cancel the Massachusetts premiere.In this aspect the documentary brings up the disturbing topic of the First Amendment and free expression even for offensive content.Talking heads give good context,especially when Vincent Brown tells us, "some of our greatest cultural products have also been some of our worst."


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