African American actresses: the struggle for visibility, by Charlene B. Regester

By Charlene B. Regester

9 actresses, from Madame Sul-Te-Wan in start of a state (1915) to Ethel Waters in Member of the marriage (1952), are profiled in African American Actresses. Charlene Regester poses questions about triumphing racial politics, on-screen and off-screen identities, and black stardom and white stardom. She unearths how those ladies fought for his or her roles in addition to what they compromised (or did not compromise). Regester repositions those actresses to spotlight their contributions to cinema within the first 1/2 the twentieth century, taking an educated theoretical, historic, and important process. (2011)

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Extra info for African American actresses: the struggle for visibility, 1900-1960

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84 It is then that Sullivan decides that in order to escape his predicament he must confess to a murder that he did not commit. He correctly assumes that his confession will result in his picture being printed in the newspaper and his friends will see it and know that he is still alive. His friends do recognize him and he is rescued from the labor camp. Although in this film Sul-Te-Wan’s character’s association with prison life is not a direct one, it is still enough to perpetuate a link between the black actress and the immoral.

84 It is then that Sullivan decides that in order to escape his predicament he must confess to a murder that he did not commit. He correctly assumes that his confession will result in his picture being printed in the newspaper and his friends will see it and know that he is still alive. His friends do recognize him and he is rescued from the labor camp. Although in this film Sul-Te-Wan’s character’s association with prison life is not a direct one, it is still enough to perpetuate a link between the black actress and the immoral.

70 In part because of her role in King Kong that associated her with the occult, evil, witchcraft, and voodoo, Sul-Te-Wan became typecast. In 1934 she played the role of Ruva in Black Moon, a film that explores voodoo in the West Indies. 71 The film focuses on a white woman, Juanita Lane (Dorothy Burgess) who, because of her possession by evil spirits, attempts to murder her 32â•… · â•… a f r i c a n a m e r i c a n a c t r e s s e s own child, but in the process her husband murders her. 72 As in King Kong, there is a juxtaposition of white to black femininity and an equation of the black female (Ruva) with sorcery and voodoo.

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