The Birth of a Nation

The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self-preservation… until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country.

- Woodrow Wilson, The Birth of a Nation (intertitle card)

The Birth of a Nation is a 1915 silent film that chronicles the lives of two families – one from the North and the other from the South – during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.

From wikipedia: The film was a commercial success, but was highly controversial owing to its portrayal of African American men (played by white actors in blackface) as unintelligent and sexually aggressive towards white women, and the portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan (whose original founding is dramatized) as a heroic force. There were widespread protests against The Birth of a Nation, and it was banned in several cities. The outcry of racism was so great that [director D.W.] Griffith was inspired to produce Intolerance the following year.

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