ABSTRACT The appearance of D. W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation, in 1915 colluded with a host of powerful economic interests (industrial capitalism) and political initiatives (imperialism) in America. As well, it coincided with dramatic changes in the American population (immigration) and film production (the defeat of the Edison-led Trust). Providing a racial catechism that included a mythical national history of white sameness, Griffith appropriated narratives from coideologists Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Dixon Jr. to designate Black desire authoritatively as the recurring menace to Western civilization and a Christian Aryan nation. And by employing the epic genre, Griffith ensured that his imagined moral order would acquire a compelling authority, particularly for his immigrant audience. Griffith succeeded in his effort to pose national redemption in racial terms and established cinematic protocols and racial icons that would survive to the present.