On January 2nd, 1814 Oscar Micheaux was born in Metropolis, Illinois to parents Calvin and Belle Micheaux, who were former slaves. One of thirteen children, Oscar went on to become one of Hollywood’s biggest surprises. As a seventeen year old, he left his home for the big city of Chicago, Illinois where he got a job as a Pullman porter. At the time this was one of the best jobs for blacks in the days of Jim Crow. By learning the philosophies of Booker T. Washington and Horace Greeley, Micheaux was able to acquire two 160-acres tracts of land in Gregory County, South Dakota, in 1905; despite having no farming experience.
After spending several years in South Dakota as a homesteader, he compiled material to use in his first novel, “The Conquest: The Story of a Negro Pioneer”; which was loosely based on his life and published in 1913. Later, in 1917, it was rewritten and became his most famous novel, “The Homesteader”. Oscar self-published and distributed the novel by going door-to-door to small businessmen and fellow homesteaders. In 1915, due to financial troubles, Micheaux lost his homestead, causing him to move to Sioux City, Iowa and establish the Western book and Supply Company, where he continued to write and sell novels.
On the Shoulders of Giants
The mission of On the Shoulders of Giants, Inc. is to provide an innovative and informative approach to educating middle school, high school, college age and young adults, about the history , culture, influence and impact of the heroes and culture of the African diaspora.