Arts and Entertainment


What was the Lincoln Motion Picture Company?

The Lincoln Motion Picture Company, founded on May 24, 1916, was the first movie company organized by black filmmakers. On January 20, 1917, the state of California formally incorporated the company and on April 30, 1917, Lincoln issued twenty-five thousand shares of common stock. Actor Noble Johnson was the company’s founding president. Other officers included actor Clarence A. Brooks; James T. Smith, a druggist; and Dudley A. Brooks, treasurer and assistant secretary.

The film company’s first production was The Realization of a Negro’s Ambition, released in mid-1916. Other films were Trooper of Troop K (known also as Trooper of Company K; 1916), The Law of Nature (1917), Lincoln Pictorial (1918), A Man’s Duty (1919), By Right of Birth (1921), and A Day with the Tenth Calvary at Fort Huachuca (1922). White cameraman Harry Gant handled the cinematography and directed most of the company’s productions; blacks, however, still managed Lincoln. Publicity materials noted that the company expected to reach millions of people, and it booked its films in theaters and arranged for showings in churches, halls, schools, and small towns without theaters. Nevertheless, Lincoln closed in 1921.


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