Director: George Pal

Writer(s): Latham Ovens, Robert Monroe

Starring: Rex Ingram

Synopsis: John Henry, legendary figure of American folklore, goes to work for the C.& O. Railroad, which, shortly thereafter, buys an automatic steel-driving engine, called the Inky-Poo. John Henry matches his strength against the Inky-Poo, saying that any man can beat a machine because a man has a mind.

Release Date: September 6, 1946 (USA) | Length: 7 min | Genre: Animation | MPAA Rating: NR

Note: The film was admitted to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2016. Stop-motion animation pioneer George Pal created the 1946 short film after the NAACP and Ebony magazine criticized his offensively stereotyped Jasper series of cartoons. The magazine later praised “John Henry” as the first Hollywood film to feature African American folklore in a positive light and to treat its characters with “dignity, imagination, poetry, and love.”

 

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