Inductee Oscar Micheaux – read his story of excellence at sdexcellence.org by Gil Troy of the Daily Beast: The grandson of slaves, Oscar Micheaux made 44 movies, becoming the “Cecil B. De Mille of Race Movies,” and the “Czar of Black Hollywood,” inspired by the 1915: Birth of a Nation.
Micheaux’s birthplace, Murphysboro, Illinois, in 1884, and upbringing on a Kansas farm with ten siblings, set him up to be a middle American. But his adopted hometown of Gregory, South Dakota, which celebrates his legacy with a festival, reflects the frontier pioneer he chose to be. When he was 21 he was already homesteading 160 acres in South Dakota. Tough and ambitious, he found acceptance out West—neighbors complimented him as one of them, by calling him more South Dakotan than black.
Back in the Dakotas, Micheaux became the door-to-door cowboy salesman. Not trusting publishers, he established his own publishing company. Trusting his own salesmanship, he sold his first three—of seven—autobiographical novels to his neighbors one-by-one, from farm-to-farm: The Conquest in 1913, The Forged Note in 1915, and The Homesteader in 1917.