Lucas Museum Acquires Massive Black Cinema Archive

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Jan 15, 2020

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Artfounded by filmmaker George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson—announced its acquisition of the African-American history archive Separate Cinema on Wednesday (January 15). A behemoth catalog that documents the history of Black film from 1904 to 2019, it contains more than 37,000 items, including original film posters and stills, scripts, publicity material and lobby cards. “The Separate Cinema Archive allows the museum to present a more inclusive history about the making and selling of feature films,” according to a statement.

The museum, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, will feature screenings of the Oscar-nominated “The Wiz” (1978) and “Do the Right Thing” (1989) on February 8. The event “will explore how filmmakers engage with issues of race within the narrative of the ‘American dream’,” according to the announcement.

Jacqueline Stewart, professor of cinema and media studies at the University of Chicago—who became Turner Classic Movies’ first Black host last September—will join Lucas Museum curator Ryan Linkof for a conversation about how race has been portrayed in cinema throughout history, as part of the museum’s Black History programming. 

“It is exciting to celebrate Black History Month by introducing the important Separate Cinema Archive and by screening these two iconic films even before our museum opens,” Sandra Jackson-Dumont, director and CEO of the Lucas Museum, said in the statement. “The Separate Cinema Archive will not only provide film scholars with incredible opportunities for research, this treasure trove will also catalyze important conversations about the inspiring narratives of African-American perspectives represented through film.”