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History-making African-American-directed film plays in Chicago

January 29, 2013|By Zara Husaini @zarhus | RedEye

The earliest known film directed by an African-American was filmed in Chicago.

The year was 1919 and the silent film, which was released the following year, was called "Within Our Gates." The film will play at the Music Box Theatre on Feb. 9.

Oscar Micheaux, the Chicagoan who was born to a former Kentucky slave, directed the film.  Micheaux’s career included involvement in over 40 films.

The film’s sole print was discovered in Spain. The Library of Congress restored it in 1993.

The film tells the story of an African-American schoolteacher who travels to raise money for better schools.

"Within Our Gates" will be shown as part of the Music Box’s Second Saturday Silent Film series. It will be accompanied by live music from Dennis Scott, the theatre’s head organist. Chicago magazine called it the “Best New Film Series of 2011.”

The film will shows at noon Feb. 9. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for adults and seniors.

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