The Birth of a Nation was one of the most important films of all time, both for its technical and aesthetic achievements and for its enduring legacy of racism. This paper uses Bruce Lincoln's approach to myth as a form of discourse and Robert Bellah's notion of civil religion to show how Birth might be understood as a mythic component of American civil religion. From this perspective, Birth serves as a paradigmatic story of American origins rooted in ideas of white supremacy. At the end of the article Oscar Micheaux's work, Within our Gates, is used to briefly demonstrate filmic strategies for countering Birth as myth.
"The Birth of a Nation as American Myth,"
Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 8
, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol8/iss3/6