Illinois History Minutes

February 28 Illinois History Minute


It’s February 28th, the day in 1928 when pioneering Black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux released his movie, “Thirty Years Later”. This lost silent picture is one of more than 40 movies made by Micheaux, who grew up in southern Illinois, and later lived in Chicago, where he recruited actors for his early films. “Thirty Years Later” told the story of a man of mixed race, brought up as white, who wins the love of a Black woman once he gains pride in his own Black heritage. 

1928 was a leap year. So was 1968. And on February 29th of that year, a federal commission chaired by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner released its report on racial conflicts in America. The Kerner Report’s conclusion:  unless action was taken the nation would continue “moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal”.