Fade In, Crossroads
Fade In, Crossroads is a history of the relations between southerners and motion pictures from the silent era to midcentury. Examining the ways in which the South contributed to the development of the film medium from the late nineteenth century through the golden age of Hollywood, it sheds light on early production centers within the region, such as Jacksonville, Florida and Asheville, North Carolina. It also explores the migration of millions of black and
white southerners beyond the South to such destinations as Los Angeles, and their impact on the industry. Fade In, Crossroads tells the story of how the rise and fall of the American film industry coincided with the rise and fall of the South's most important modern product and export: Jim Crow segregation.
This work details the varied encounters of southern literary figures including William Faulkner, Richard Wright, and many others with the medium as viewers, screenwriters, critics, and filmmakers, and considers the medium's influence on their literary writings. It takes a crucial look at southern historical legacies on film: the prolific Civil War film tradition; the notorious tradition of lynching films during an era of widespread lynching in the South; and the remarkable race film industry,
whose independent African American filmmakers forged an important cinematic tradition in response to the racial limitations of both the South and Hollywood. Fade In, Crossroads also maps the influence of film on future participants in the Civil Rights Movement, from prominent leaders such as Martin
Luther King and Thurgood Marshall to film-industry veterans like Lena Horne and Paul Robeson to the millions of ordinary people, black and white, who found themselves caught up in the struggle for racial equality in the modern United States.