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Brooklyn

Al Smith and Fearmongering, Racist Propaganda in the 1928 U.S. Presidential Election

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Al Smith and Fearmongering, Racist Propaganda in the 1928 U.S. Presidential Election

The images below show an article from 1928 that was published to an unknown number of voters. If you've seen my film The Sidewalks of New York, you know that the tactic of fear was used to scare people from voting for Al Smith in the 1928 presidential election. They denied him the presidency, despite history showing us today that he had the qualities and experience of someone who truly could have been one of our greatest presidents, even with the inevitable 1929 stock market crash.

To bluntly summarize, the 1928 article wrongly acts like black people are scary and not to be trusted, and that they regularly offer insults to white women on street corners in Harlem. It also says that if Smith is voted in, the White House will be sure to cater to the needs of African Americans.

Just like The Country Editor and World Press News existed in 1928 to push out propaganda, there are today "news" outlets on the internet that publish misleading stories. People in 1928 passed around the articles by hand. Today people click 'Share'.

Unfortunately, just as people 89 years ago blindly believed what they read without making any attempts to check any available sources, today many people continue to do the same, despite there being a greater abundance of information, and despite all the years of education and life experience. Add on top of that the fact that most American homes have been using the internet in their homes for around 20 years, yet they still don't seem to know how to use it to properly gather facts, data, and sources.

I believe that this comes not only from bigotry and hatred, but also it comes from a need for people to feel correct about the votes they've cast, and the parties they've chosen to support. Very often the people experiencing this are in denial that they are the problem, again because of the need to feel correct. They're stuck. They choose parties like it's the same as sports, even though the only true team is the party of "What's Best For The Country?".

The past holds lessons that can help us in the present. I hope that one day the world can understand this simple idea.

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Watch 'The Sidewalks of New York'

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Watch 'The Sidewalks of New York'

The Sidewalks of New York is a documentary film that begins with the tale of the famous song of the same name, and builds every moment toward the fascinating story behind Governor Al Smith, the most forgotten historical figure in American history. The elections of 1924 and 1928 are featured prominently in the story's second half, and along the way a handful of songs from the same time period are played to portray that, while this film is somewhat about the tune 'The Sidewalks of New York', the other songs do their part to lift up and bring the story home, all joining together to complete one of the most inspiring tales in New York history.

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Massive 1876 Photo Zoom: Three Promos

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Massive 1876 Photo Zoom: Three Promos

The Sidewalks of New York releases in three days on September 21st on YouTube. Today I'm releasing three promo videos.

Credit for this incredible 19th century photo goes to Joshua Beal. It was shot from atop the Brooklyn Bridge's Brooklyn Tower during the bridge's construction in 1876. Here's one below, and visit here to see the two others.

These brief promo videos are an interesting way of exploring the huge photograph that makes a brief appearance in the film and its trailer.

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Colorizing a Photograph from 1874

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Colorizing a Photograph from 1874

I'm trying my hand at colorizing old black-and-white photographs. This first one from 1874 is called "Solution of Dinner Question at the Conduit at Hempstead", so the text at the bottom of the photo should say "Hempstead".

My first colorized photograph attempt. Grass/dirt is difficult since it could be any range of yellow, green, brown or...

Posted by Jordan Liles Films on Friday, December 11, 2015

The photo was shot by George Bradford Brainerd. See 28 of his photos, now and then, right here...

Digital photo credit: Brooklyn Museum.

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