Beginning with "The Birth of a Nation" and pushing forward to "12 Years a Slave," the history of black cinema has been at times painful, artful, rich and sometimes wild.
In the newly released book "Separate Cinema: The First 100 Years of Black Poster Art," more than 300 full-color pages employ the potent language of art and design to broadcast the ways in which black people were perceived by society and how they coped with it creatively.
The images were culled from the Separate Cinema Archive, which, with more than 35,000 posters and photos from more than 30 countries, is among the most extensive privately held collections of African American film memorabilia in the world.
"The book illustrates how blacks have been portrayed in film and how, moving into the 21st century, blacks are now winning academy awards," says Separate Cinema founder John Kisch. "It's a long journey and we try to tell that story visually as well as historically."