This chapter focuses on the issue of black characterizations in motion pictures, which became critical during the 1940s because government administrators understood that film was central to any propagation of American democracy. In the summer 1942, the Office of War Information's (OWI) Bureau of Motion Pictures (BMP) warned Hollywood, “Unless the public adequately understands the war program, a few military reverses can shatter the high morale of the American people.” During the war years, the BMP read approximately 1,652 film scripts before Harry Truman abolished the OWI in 1945. Although officials within the BMP acted more like regulators than cultural producers, they nonetheless shaped the nature of Hollywood productions through the promotion of certain principles.
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