This article is the first extended examination of the career of the last race filmmaker, Powell Lindsay. Lindsay, an African American, Harlemite, and compatriot of Richard Wright and Langston Hughes, developed his style in the 1930s avant-garde and leftist theater and employed Brechtian techniques that produced a provocative and often unresolved African American image. His films and theatrical pieces combine semi-documentary sequences, hostility, music, and satire, exceeding predictable genre-based formations or conclusions. Lindsay was also one of the only Black leftist voices in the cinema of this moment. His critique of class and race—and of America's social problem discourse—are powerfully revealed in his film Souls of Sin (1949), as this article reveals. In imagining connections between black left politics, music, and abstraction, Lindsay accomplished sophisticated cinematic work that few other black filmmakers of this era were attempting.


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pp. 7-41
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