Oscar Micheaux (1884-1951) had no mentors and no background that prepared him for any of the challenges he undertook, but he successfully amassed land in the West
at a time when few African-Americans were homesteading; he published his own novels, one of which went on to be a bestseller; and he became a prolific filmmaker when the industry was in its infancy.
Micheaux was one of eleven children born to former slaves. Oscar’s father could not read or write but was a hardworking farmer who took good care of his family and was a great role model. His mother had received some education and brought her children up reading the Scriptures. She also taught them about the wisdom of Booker T. Washington.
When Oscar was born, the family lived near Metropolis, Illinois, but they soon moved to Great Bend, Kansas where Oscar grew up. Oscar did well in school, but this set him apart from the other schoolchildren who saw no reason to work so hard. His dislike of farming coupled with is outsider-status at school led Oscar to drop out of high school to get a job.