Schoolboys posed at the entrance of the Hyperion Theatre, premiering the film Birth of a Nation

“‘Birth of a Nation,’ will be shown here. S. Z. Poli has secured exclusive New England rights for, ‘The Birth of a Nation,’ regarded as the biggest and most dramatic motion picture play which has been produced in this country. This play was shown in New York for more than a year and in Boston for several months, breaking the record for motion picture runs. In it there appear 18,000 people and 3,000 horses during some of the ensemble scenes. It is presented like a play with a small army of stage hands, supers, and others, and is accompanied by special music. The play takes two and one-half hours to run on the screen. The photoplay will be shown at one of Mr. Poli’s theaters here, probably the Palace. The dates for the Hartford presentation have not been announced.”
-excerpt from the Hartford Currant, published Thursday, September 16, 1915. (top) Image courtesy of T. S. Bronson’s original photograph, 1915, by way of Acadia Publishing’s, “New Haven: Reshaping the City, 1900-1980,” 2002

“The very name of The Birth of a Nation is an insult to Washington, who believed that a nation, not merely a congress of independent states, was born during the common struggle of the Revolutionary War, and devoted himself to cementing the union. It is an insult to Lincoln and the great motives inspiring him when he was called on to resist the attempt to denationalize a nation. This nation of ours was not born between 1861 and 1865, and no none will profit from trying to prevent history.”
-excerpt from, “Capitalizing Race Hatred,” New York Globe, April 6, 1915

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