Black History 365

Oscar Micheaux - The Pioneer of Black Hollywood

“Oscar Micheaux” by TradingCardsNPS - CC BY 2.0

 

The Homesteader, Author, Producer, Director and Pioneer.

Oscar Micheaux was born in Metropolis, IL in 1884 the 5th child born to Belle and Calvin Micheaux who had 13 children in total.


His father was born into slavery in Kentucky where there was a high volume of French settlers indicated by his surname, it has also been suggested that he descended from the French Huguenots who migrated en masse from France to other parts of Europe the UK, Africa, and America, initially the east coast then creating settlements across the country moving into the south and subsequently owning slaves.


The first “superman” of Metropolis he was a precocious, inquisitive free thinker who tended to dream outside of the status quo as a child, however, this was not the favored attitude for the times he lived in and he was regularly misunderstood by peers and the elders in his community.

The young entrepreneur spent his formative years in Metropolis until his craving to devour more out of life moved him out of his rural vistas to the city of Chicago at 17, where he stayed with his brother.

 

Oscar spent a few years there but did not share the same contentment with the life and work his brother had in Chicago, he wanted more and knew he could achieve it, somehow.


With the increasing lack of job stability, he wanted to create a way to generate a reliable income for himself, so he started a shoe shining business. With his determination, grit, and consistency he eventually earned enough to open a bank account and was able to start saving and investing in other small ventures.


In 1902 he started working for the Pullman Car Company as a porter which gave him the steady income he required to serve his ambitions at the time incorporating his pursuit to travel and explore what other cities had to offer.


While working as a porter he got to see all the major cities the railroad traveled through, meeting different kinds of people on the way.


He made a lot of friends on his travels along with many interesting conversations with affluent passengers which opened his eyes to a world he wanted access to, but on his terms.

After a few years of working as a Pullman Porter, he increasingly had to make extra tips to survive as wages were consistent but unfortunately still not a livable wage nor unionized. Years later The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters fought to change this.


The call to devour more from life came again, it was time to create another path towards the dreams he felt compelled to attain...

 

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Thank You - Oscar Micheaux - The Pioneer of Black Hollywood

By TC Hails



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