Paperback / softback
May 28, 2024
28 b&w illustrations, 12 color illustrations
9.25 Inches (US)
6.25 Inches (US)
$27.95 USD, £25.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference


One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World

For decades, representation of the Black experience in films has been marginalized, stifled, inaccurate, and inadequate. In Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World, now available in paperback, cultural historian Wil Haygood places the Black experience in the foreground and examines the struggles and triumphs of Black actors and filmmakers as a window into Black culture, civil rights, and racism in America. This all-encompassing study provides an unprecedented look at the history of Black cinema in a white-dominated industry—from Hollywood's first blockbuster The Birth of a Nation (1915), which glorifies the Ku Klux Klan, to Gone with the Wind (1939), Imitation of Life (1959), the Blaxploitation films of the seventies, and contemporary films such as Do The Right Thing (1989), 12 Years a Slave (2013), and Black Panther (2018). Featuring a powerful new preface that addresses Black filmmakers' ongoing fight for inclusion and the continuing need for cinema to tell more compelling stories about being Black in America, this important, timely volume provides an exceptional history and groundbreaking perspective of Black cinema.

About the Author

Wil Haygood is a former reporter for the Washington Post and the Boston Globe, where he was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist. In 2022 he received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize's Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. Haygood also wrote the New York Times bestseller, The Butler: A Witness to History. Haygood is currently serving as Boadway Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at his alma mater, Miami University, Ohio.


"Like Black history, Black film is indisputably entwined with American history. Haygood emphasizes this point from the start of this captivating chronicle of a century. Haygood's defining history is as moving as it is enlightening."—Booklist (starred review)

"This is an invaluable national memoir, seen through the ardent research — and lived experience — of the award-winning Black journalist and movie lover Wil Haygood. This is a memoir that demands update and expansion in the years to come."—New York Times Book Review

"Haygood creates an encyclopedic history of Blacks' film presence... A well-researched history of frustrations, defiance, and bold dreams—good for movie buffs and civil rights historians alike."—Kirkus Reviews

"Haygood takes on the history of Black cinema in this riveting, ambitious deep dive."—Esquire

"For three decades, Wil Haygood, a former staff writer at the Post-Gazette, the Boston Globe and The Washington Post, has been writing the kind of in-depth histories of American culture — popular, legal and personal — that the nation desperately needs. His latest is an instant classic because of the brilliant way he's able to put different aspects of our conflicted history into dialogue with each other"—Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"This is an invaluable national memoir, seen through the ardent research — and lived experience — of the award-winning Black journalist and movie lover Wil Haygood. The white world he has in mind is America, to be exact. And Haygood anchors the opening of his survey in an extended contrast between the life and work of the commandingly influential director D.W. Griffith (whose disquieting 1915 masterpiece, "The Birth of a Nation," with its vividly racist underpinnings, was screened in Woodrow Wilson's White House for an appreciative audience) and that of the contemporaneous Black director Oscar Micheaux... the author's unflagging energy also serves as an effective reproach to any who still don't feel the frustration of how difficult it has been for so long for Black Americans to see themselves on screen and feel seen in the great American movie industry. At times Colorization has the feel of an almanac, or maybe it's an encyclopedia, or a time capsule timed right up to the minute. The archivist doesn't want to miss a detail or a moment. This is a memoir that demands update and expansion in the years to come."—Lisa Schwarzbaum, NY Times Book Review

"Haygood... has become a master craftsman, one whose joinery is seamless... This is sweeping history, but in Haygood's hands it feels crisp, urgent and pared down. He doesn't try to be encyclopedic. He takes a story he needs, tells it well, and ties it to the next one. He carries you along on dispassionate analysis and often novelistic detail. This is important, spirited popular history. Like a good movie, it pops from the start."—Dwight Garner, The New York Times

"This enthralling and impeccably researched study starts with the silent era and ends with the death of George Floyd. 'In the life of Black Americans,' Haygood writes, 'photographs and moving images would come to be quite significant, illustrating both hardship and brutality.' In addition to documenting the key texts, Haygood also delves into the stories of individuals like Dorothy Dandridge and Melvin Van Peebles."—Christopher Schobert, The Film Stage

"The struggle of Black directors and actors to make movies on equal terms is explored in this sweeping historical study. Journalist and biographer Haygood (The Butler) surveys the Black presence in American cinema back to the silent eraHaygood centers his narrative on punchy biographical sketches of Black filmmakers and piquant making-of tableauxably filling in the historical context from the Harlem Renaissance to the George Floyd protests. The result is an engrossing account of a vital but often slighted cinematic tradition, full of fascinating lore."—Publishers Weekly

"Hands down this year's very best book about film, Colorization: One Hundred Years of Black Films in a White World is precisely the book we need right now. [This] nearly 500-page tome examines the history of Black cinema from its horrifying beginning in 1915 with D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation through the Blaxploitation films of the 1970s, and all the way to modern-day blockbusters like Marvel Studios' Black Panther. Haygood goes in-depth with classic films like Porgy and BessDo the Right Thing, and 12 Years a Slaveand even digs deep into the work and life of iconic figures like Hattie McDaniel, Billy Dee Williams, Ava DuVernay, and Jordan Peele. And all of that is just scratching the surface of everything that Colorization encompasses. An absolutely essential read!"—Scott Neumyer, Shondaland

9780813199382 : colorization-haygood
Paperback / softback
May 28, 2024
$27.95 USD

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