Ebony Film Corporation


Established in Illinois in 1915, Ebony was a white-owned studio that produced comedies with all black casts, and used this point of view as a selling point that would set their productions apart. The company was based in Chicago, and filmed in Chicago as well as Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Although the company was largely owned by white producers, Luther Pollard and his brother Fritz held position of authority and note within the company. Fritz acted as a talent scout and casting agent, while Luther held the title of company president and general manager, was an active partner, and also took on the role of director. In addition, Luther acted on behalf of the black community, fighting for positive black images in cinema. 

The Ebony Comedies series was picked up for distribution by General Film in the spring of 1918. By mid-1918, the company departed from its usual program by announcing a series co-starring white and black stock players. Despite having well-received comedies under its belt, including Spying the Spy and A Reckless Rover, and employing vaudeville stars like Mattie Edwards, the studio was brought to its knees after the Chicago Defender attacked it, accusing it of using racial stereotypes. By the early '20s, Ebony was no more.