Chicago: J.W. Middleton & Co., 1918. Tinted lithographic certificate, 8.25 x 11 inches, completed in manuscript. Old folds, minor dust soiling. Very good. Item #3493
A rare surviving stock certificate for a corporation established in 1916 by Emmett J. Scott and other well-intentioned but somewhat cinematically-naive individuals who wanted to make their own silent film as a rebuke to the virulently racist (and still celebrated) The Birth of a Nation by D.W. Griffiths. The title of the proposed film is obviously a play on Griffiths' title. Scott's group raised quite a bit of capital to finance Birth of a Race, but otherwise floundered, and the film Scott wanted to make was never realized. Instead, new investors got involved and refocused the movie to promote world peace while telling a trite story about two German American brothers who end up fighting on opposite sides during the First World War. The movie, finally released in 1918, was watched by practically nobody, and investors got nothing. A sad ending for a once noble mission - to make the great African American epic that unfortunately never came to be.