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Birth of a Movement (film)

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Birth of a Movement is an American documentary film produced by Northern Light Productions and based on the book Birth of a Movement: How Birth of a Nation Ignited the Battle for Civil Rights by Dick Lehr. The film tells the story of how, in 1915, Boston-based African American newspaper editor and activist William Monroe Trotter waged a battle against D.W. Griffith’s technically groundbreaking but notoriously Klu Klux Klan-friendly film The Birth of a Nation based on the book The Clansman by Thomas Dixon Jr. Birth of a Nationunleashed a fight about race relations, media representation, and the power and influence of Hollywood that continues today. The film explores the backdrop to this clash between human rights, freedom of speech, and a changing media landscape.

The documentary features Spike Lee, whose first film The Answer was an artistic response to The Birth of a Nation; Reginald Hudlin who produced Django Unchained in response to Griffith’s film; and Paul Miller, aka DJ Spooky, who recut his own version of The Birth of a Nation, accompanied by his own original musical score.

Birth of a Movement first aired on PBS’ Independent Lens on February 6, 2017 and was one of their most popular programs.[1] It was chosen as a finalist for best documentary film at the 2018 NAACP Image Awards.[2]


  1. "Birth of a Movement | Film about Controversy Around D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation | Independent Lens | PBS". Independent Lens. Retrieved 2017-12-01.
  2. "49th NAACP Image Awards Nominees - NAACP Image Awards". NAACP Image Awards. Retrieved 2017-12-01.

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