The Lincoln Motion Picture Company was an American film production company founded in 1916 by Noble Johnson and George Perry Johnson. Noble Johnson was president of the company, the secretary was actor Clarence A. Brooks. Dr. James T. Smith was treasurer, and Dudley A. Brooks was assistant secretary. The company is known as the first producer of race movies. Established in Omaha, Nebraska, the company relocated to Los Angeles the following year. It remained in operation until 1923, closing shortly after announcing a final project, The Heart of a Negro.
In the first two decades of the 20th century African American audiences were ignored by film studios. Because African American audiences were ignored, there was a high demand for films geared to catering to black audiences. Thus bringing about the need for black motion picture production companies.
The Lincoln Motion Picture Company is considered the first all-black movie production company, building a reputation for making films that showcased African American talent in the film industry. The company made and distributed only five films. These films were limited to African American audiences in churches, schools, and "Colored Only" theaters, despite the Johnson brothers wanting a wider audience. Unfortunately production expenses and low sales halted future films to be made and distributed. Noble left his position as president to become an actor at Universal Pictures, with Dr. James T. Smith taking over the position. The Lincoln Motion Picture Company lasted until 1921.
Although the Lincoln Motion Picture Company did not last long, it was influential in the African American community. This company inspired the movement of more ethnic movie companies.
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