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Sun, 03.02.1919

The Homesteader Film Debuts

*On this date in 1919, The Homesteader (film) was shown.  This is a lost black-and-white silent film by Black author and filmmaker Oscar Micheaux

The Homesteader involves six principal characters, the leading one being Jean Baptiste (Charles Lucas), a homesteader far off in the Dakotas, the lone Black living in the area. Jack Stewart, a Scotsman, arrives in this wilderness with his motherless daughter, Agnes (Iris Hall), who doesn't know she is biracial. In Agnes, Baptiste meets the girl of his dreams. Peculiar fate threw her in the company of the Homesteader, but because Baptiste is Black and Agnes is presumably white, their love is forbidden by law. Baptiste eventually sacrifices the love of this girl of his dreams, returns to his people, and marries Orlean, the daughter of a Black preacher named McCarthy. 

McCarthy, the embodiment of vanity, deceit, and hypocrisy, really admires the marriage his daughter has made. He speaks of the "rich" young man she has married and praises him to the highest. Baptiste does not know, however, that McCarthy requires and is in the habit of having people praise him. Baptiste does not do it because he is not of the temperament to do so. Because of this failure, the tragedy of mismarriage to Orlean (Evelyn Preer), a sweet girl, kind and good, but like her mother, without the strength of her convictions. 

Baptiste, Orlean having failed him, is persecuted by McCarthy and by Ethel (McCarthy's other daughter), who, like her father, possesses all the evil a woman is capable of; she is married to weak-kneed Glavis. In the end, Orlean, driven insane by the evil she had been the innocent cause of, rights a wrong which causes Baptiste to go back to his land in the Dakotas, where he finds the girl he first discovered. Later, he learns the truth about her race, and the story has a beautiful ending.   

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