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Welcome to A Cinema Apart, a website devoted to early black film. Created by the late Larry Richards.

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Rare Pre-1960 Black Films & Memorabilia

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Dr. Beverly Richards is the owner and curator of the A Cinema Apart Collection which includesAfrican american Film memorabilia from the 1920s through 1950s. This collection from the Race Film genre is comprised of actual films, movie posters, lobby cards, photographs, ephemera, and personal items of the stars.

Beverly travels nationally and internationally to lecture, exhibit, and show race films to various institutions and organizations. Items from the collection are also available for exhibits and film festivals.

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has acquired nearly 1000 items from this prestigious collection of over 2100 artifacts.


In 1982 Larry Richards, the original owner and curator of A Cinema Apart, was asked to run a film festival during Black History Month at The Free Library of Philadelphia. He decided to show race films since most people had no idea they existed. About four years into the now annual festival, a friend asked Larry if he wanted to exhibit a race film poster, The Bulldogger. One look at that poster and he was hooked. He had never seen race film art, and from that point on he became obsessed with learning and spreading the word about early African American Film History.

This collection and web site came about when Larry had the opportunity to purchase race film memorabilia and movies. This opportunity enabled him to make this exciting and obscure history available to others. For over twenty years Larry acquired and archived more than 2100 items of African American films and memorabilia. Half of this prestigious collection has been acquired by the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture to open in 2015 in Washington, DC.

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Cartoon Catalog
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Amos N' Andy
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Short Films
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Feature Films
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Soundies
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Posters

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ACinemaApart

is about Race films, films that were created for African American audiences with African American cast, because of Hollywoods unrelenting use of degrading stereotypes and Jim Crow laws.
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The history of early black film is exciting and rewarding. For a glimpse [see Film History on menu to the left or click on the above poster] take a quick look at the Film History page.  

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Original Stills
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Clarence Muse - signed
Late additions to collection

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NEW SHORT

Derive pleasure from the art,

Enlightenment from the history, 
And Pride from the accomplishments.

About the films

Most of these films have never been released to the public or are now out of circulation.  Films have been taken from 70mm, 16mm, and other video sources over the last 30 years. I will not sell films that are unwatchable. Most of these films are old and unrestored. They were cheaply made films to begin with, bear that in mind. All films are in very good to excellent viewing condition or I will not sell. Also, be aware that DVDs are not perfect, if you receive one that skips ,freezes or stops it could be a dirty player lens, a defective or incompatible dvd. Just return it for a replacement.

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NEWSREELS

The Royal Theater
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Philadelphia, PA.

First colored theater to show talkies and the Origin of the National Negro Projectionist Union.
The Quiet One, 1948
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FEATURE FILMS

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DOCUMENTARIES

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SPECIALS

SPECIAL FILM COLLECTIONS 25% off

 Oscar Micheaux, Paul Robeson,Fredi Washington, Josephine Baker, Spencer Williams and Dorothy Dandridge (click on Camera above)

Paul Robeson exhibit
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ACinemaApart.com collection

I began collecting early Black films and it's memorabilia over 30 years ago.  I  realized that a lot of these films would never be seen again and that the African American stars that made them possible would also slowly fade away.  I have well over a thousand pieces covering posters, contracts, stills, and personal items of stars.  My goal is to eventually find a museum dedicated to the preservation of early black films or "race movies" as they were called at the time.  Here's your chance to see and experience a rare slice of African American history. Please enjoy my site, Thank you, Larry Richards

ALL films are on DVD  

CLEAN  your DVD player lens. A dirty lens can cause dvd's to skip and/or freeze. The high resolution of computers can tend to very slightly blur analog pictures.

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Dark Manhattan Trailer

           


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