Ever since the production and premiere of The Birth of a Nation in 1915, the subject of African-American history and the representation of blacks on the screen had been controversial and sometimes divisive. While a rich body of all-black “race films” presented strong African-American characters in control of their destinies, mainstream Hollywood productions typically confined black actors to limited subordinate roles during the 1920s and 1930s. In most cases, these films perpetuated long-held stereotypes different only in degree from those presented in the silent era. As we have seen, the release of The Negro Soldier during World War II, while done for propaganda purposes, did reflect an awareness among government officials and military leaders that many Americans still lived with gross misconceptions concerning black life and character.