(OSV News) — During the Jim Crow era, a genre of movies developed that were geared toward African American audiences and known as race films. Since Black audiences seldom saw themselves portrayed in mainstream pictures — and usually only as servants or comically stereotyped figures when they were — these productions provided a popular alternative.

Among the filmmakers who had a significant impact on this market was actor-turned-auteur Spencer Williams Jr. (1893-1969). One of the two highpoints of Williams’ career, according to a consensus of critics and scholars, is his 1941 religiously-themed drama “The Blood of Jesus.”

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