First Black Owned American Film Production Company: Lincoln Motion Picture

Written by Jae Jones

The Company was the first American film production company that was owned by African Americans. The company was founded in 1915 as the first producer of race movies by brothers George and .  Noble Johnson was a young and small-time actor, and George worked for the post office in a federal civil service job. In 1915, Noble Johnson became president of the company. The company soon moved from Omaha, Nebraska to California the following year.

The purpose of the company was to encourage pride while upholding the social order of the period. The company wanted to correct the distortions portrayed by white films about black people. The Lincoln Company’s first two-reel feature film release was The Realization of a Negro’s Ambition (1916). During the 1920s, the company started having to compete with other black community established film studios. But, the increased cost of making a moving and the problems with the economy due to the Great Depression forced many independent black film companies to close their doors. The Black community just did not have the money to help keep the company up and running.

In 1923, the brothers closed the company for good. continued to work for 37 years as a postal employee. He compiled an extensive collection related to blacks in the movie business, which is now held by the UCLA Research Library. Noble M. Johnson continued his acting career and appeared in more than 140 movies from 1915–1950.



Lincoln Motion Picture Company: 1st black owned film production company

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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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