Jacqueline Stewart Becomes First African American Host at Turner Classic Movies

The University of Chicago professor will present Silent Sunday Nights starting Sept. 15.

Beginning Sunday, Sept. 15, Turner Classic Movies will have a fifth host to introduce the uncut and uninterrupted films of the Silent era: Jacqueline Stewart, a professor at the University of Chicago, who wants to make her hosting duties feel like “an extension of my classroom,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter.

But not only will Stewart, the author of Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity, become the first-ever host of TCM’s Silent Sunday Nights programming, which began with airing Buster Keaton’s The Cameraman 25 years ago on April 17, 1994, but she will make history as the first African American host for the network.

Stewart isn’t a stranger to collaborating with TCM, but she does say that her new gig came together rather quickly. “I only found out a few months ago,” she recalls a few weeks before her first night of hosting. “When we started talking about this opportunity, Silent Sunday Nights was floated, and I was like, ‘My dissertation was on Silent film!'”

A few years ago, she co-curated a box set called Pioneers of African-American Cinema, documenting the origins of the Race Film Movement, films made for segregated African American audiences during the first half of the 20th century. Featuring filmmakers like Oscar Micheaux and Spencer Williams, who famously portrayed Andy on The Amos ‘n’ Andy Show in the 1950s and is the subject of a book she is writing at the moment, Stewart was invited to discuss the works with primetime host Ben Mankiewicz for two Sundays on TCM.

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