N. P. N. P., [circa 1905 or earli. Item #1678
18½” x 6”. Broadside printed one side. Very good plus: bright and fresh, folded horizontally at center with a few faint horizontal creases. H. Charles Pope was an itinerant preacher from Washington, D. C. He rose to national fame around the turn of the century with engaging tales of devils and redemption. By adding visual imagery to his talks with a stereopticon, he was able to lure larger crowds than preachers with similar lessons, but no entertainment. We found newspaper references to his stereopticon shows as early as 1896, and he added movies to his performances around 1905. According to Cara Caddoo in Envisioning Freedom. Cinema and the Building of Modern Black Life (Harvard University Press, 2014) , “it is impossible to tell the story of twentieth-century black public life and its institutions without considering the catalytic role of the moving pictures. Shortly after commercial motion picture projectors were introduced to the United States in 1896, black Americans began promoting the technology as a symbol and tool for “racial uplift”--the belief that self-help initiatives were the key to collective racial advancement. ” Caddoo also contradicts the belief that African Americans first viewed movies in commercial venues owned and operated by whites, pointing out that a black church in Kansas City showed movies in January 1897, just a few months after Edison unveiled his invention. “Between 1897 and 1910, motion pictures [were shown] in black lodges, schools, and, most frequently, churches . . . To promote their ideas, raise money, and entice fellow members of the race to join their organizations. ” This is a broadside for one of Pope's early performances employing movies. The earliest example that Caddoo could find of Pope using moving pictures was October 21, 1905. Based on the stamp at the bottom as well as the broadside's provenance, this copy would have been used in 1906 to advertise a performance at the St. John A. M. E. Church in Xenia, Ohio. We imagine it may have been printed earlier than 1905 as the text only mentions the still images of the stereopticon and the stamp includes “MOVING PICTURES”. We could not locate any first person accounts of Pope's show but Caddoo theorizes “it might have included a wide and changing assortment of motion pictures. Illustrating his ideas about the 'Black Hand'--the role of African Americans in shaping the history of the United States—Pope may have presented a two-minute file like Panoramic View of the Capitol, Washington, D. C. (1901) or President McKinley and Escort Going to the Capitol (1901) , which showed a military procession on horseback and a horse-drawn carriage carrying President McKinley. As the film played, Pope could have launched into one of his favorite stories, that of James Parker, the black waiter who heroically attempted to thwart the president's assassination. ”OCLC, internet and auction records searches reveal no other copies. A visually pleasing artifact documenting the early use of movies to inform, entertain and give hope to African Americans. This item is offered by Langdon Manor Books, LLC, antiquarian booksellers. Please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information and/or photos and we will respond promptly. We package our items carefully, ship daily, and have a no hassle returns policy--your satisfaction is guaranteed. We are members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) , the International League of Antiquarian Booksllers (ILAB) and the Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA) and adhere to their rules of ethics.