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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Cross

POP Archives Highlights: The Black Film Archive

In this new category, I'd like to start signal boosting or highlighting efforts made in pop culture, academia, or individual accomplishments that are archives adjacent. While pointing out the ways in which pop culture depictions of archives and archivists is the main goal of this website, I also want to showcase the labor of those who are creating spaces that largely center on marginalized groups and those whom the archival profession conveniently forget.

One such archival space is the Black Film Archive!

Created by Maya Cade, the Black Film Archive is "a living register of Black films. In its current iteration, it showcases Black films made from 1915 to 1979 currently streaming." Cade spent a year gathering films and resources in order to create a website that centered movies from the silent era to blaxploitation within the context of their creation as well as providing a means of access to said films that people might find difficult to achieve on their own.

Cade categorized and described the movies herself and that level of passion shows in the final product. The Black Film Archive is an awe-inspiring achievement in bringing attention to the history and presence of black people in Hollywood and the film industry. There's also the added goal of featuring the expanse of genres within the archives. Dramas, comedies, documentaries, etc. make sure users understand that black films are not monoliths of any one genre, but are varied forms of entertainment despite the lack of insight shown by critics and the film industry when trying to define what makes something a "black film".

So, please, take a look and watch a movie you've never seen or one you haven't seen in a long time. There are over 250 films to choose from, but if you find yourself in a paralysis of choice type situation I highly recommend any movie with Sidney Poitier. Why? Because it's Sidney Poitier. No more questions!

Also, if you'd like to help fund the Black Film Archive, please donate as well as subscribe to get updates. Every little bit helps, especially for small, independently operated archives.


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