blackbirdonline journalSpring 2015  v14n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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A Review of Within Our Gates
Tony Langston, The Chicago Defender (Saturday, January 24, 1920), reproduced from the original

The latest of the Micheaux productions, “Within Our Gates,” will be seen for a short run beginning on Thursday, Jan. 29, at Hammond’s Pickford theater, Thirty-fifth street and Michigan avenue. This is the picture that it required two solid months to get by the censor board, and it is the claim of the author and producer that, while it is a bit radical, it is withal the biggest protest against race prejudice, lynching and “concubinage” that was ever written or filmed and that there are more thrills and gripping, holding moments than was ever seen in any individual production.

 Advertisement in The Chicago Defender, adjacent to the review, January 24, 1920

The scenes are laid in the South, where the outrages are most predominant, and the author has not minced words in presenting the facts as they really exist. To give you a slight idea of what the story is like, we publish the following paragraph, taken from the middle part of the scenario:

“It was late in September in Mississippi: the cotton had been picked, ginned, baled and delivered. There was to be a picnic and night festival, and on the preceding afternoon, Jasper Landry, with a statement of account, prepared by his daughter, Sylvia, who was ‘going away to school,’ went to the plantation offices of Philip Girdlestone, white, to make a settlement. Now, there was a worthless, unlikable fellow named Eph. He was known as a spreader of ‘news,’ who had told Girdlestone something that had fanned the flame of hatred in his breast against Landry. Eph, secreted to peep upon the controversy which he had planned, turned away to giggle when a shot rent the air. He whirled—and saw Girdlestone falling to the floor, mortally wounded, with Landry standing over him holding a smoking revolver. So away went Eph with a greater tale than ever to tell.”

What then happened, you may guess—but not all! People interested in the welfare of the Race cannot afford to miss seeing this great production, and, remember, it tells it all.  end

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