Rebirth of a Nation: US History According to DW Griffith

Notes on the Uncurrent Cinema

Still from Birth of a Nation.

Since many high school students across the country will be back to learning their history of the US from Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind, it’s perhaps instructive to recall that when Birth of a Nation premiered at Clune’s Auditorium in LA, to large protests by the NAACP, it was still called The Clansman, the title of the racist novel by Thomas Dixon it was based on. In fact, it’s possible that the print that was shown at the White House, which generated such a frenzied reaction from Woodrow Wilson, was still called The Clansman. Dixon was a pal of Wilson’s and had arranged the showing, the first film ever screened at the White House.

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Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3

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