This article analyzes African Americans’ protest against the movie The Birth of a Nation in Denver in 1915 and the protest’s impact on the May 1916 municipal election, in which African Americans shifted their support from the Republican to the Democratic mayoral candidate. This essay contributes to the scholarship on African American activism during “the long civil rights movement” and the role of the idea of respectability in that activism. This essay first argues that protests against this film had political as well as cultural significance. African Americans’ political activism in the West furthers our knowledge of black activism in the early twentieth century. Finally, this essay contributes to understanding the local roots of African Americans’ shift from the Republican to the Democratic Party during the early twentieth century.

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