Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898 – 1971 honors the legacy of African American filmmakers and actors from the dawn of cinema, through the golden age, and into the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement. Inspired by and named after an independent 1923 all-Black-cast movie, Regeneration seeks to revive lost or forgotten films, filmmakers, and performers for a contemporary audience.
Regeneration includes historical photographs, costumes, props, posters, and interactive elements specifically designed for this exhibition and juxtaposed with significant contemporary artworks by artists including Glenn Ligon, Gary Simmons, and Kara Walker. Objects and ephemera, newsreels and home movies, excerpts from narrative films and documentaries, and a selection of fully restored, rarely seen films amplify African American contributions to defining cinema in the United States.
Regeneration highlights the agency many Black artists asserted in their respective crafts despite challenges of systemic racism, revealing their tenacity, immense talent, and unwavering commitment to creative expression.
Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898 – 1971 is organized by the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
At the Detroit Institute of Arts, lead support is generously provided by The Gilbert Family Foundation. Major support is provided by JPMorgan Chase & Co. Additional support is provided by the DTE Foundation and Amazon.