Oscar Micheaux

The Homesteader

The quest for home consumed Oscar Micheaux, a writer, filmmaker, and creator of the first Black-owned independent film company. Born in Metropolis, a de facto Jim Crow town in a Northern state, Micheaux left for Chicago as a young man in 1902. He found work as a Pullman railway porter, and as he traveled the country, the vast prairies tugged at his imagination. He admired the “fine country homes so characteristic of the great middle west” and claimed a homestead in South Dakota. For ten years, Micheaux farmed and battled the elements before losing his home to foreclosure.

Micheaux had turned to his new passions—writing and filmmaking—and the search for home haunted his work. Micheaux’s first book, The Conquest, explores his experience in South Dakota. His films, often informed by his years homesteading, cathartically grapple with racism in the United States but maintain hope for the future. The name Oscar Micheaux now resides on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


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