One strength of a database is that it allows researchers to visualize connections among entities. A network graph is one such visualization: the nodes (or circles) represent entities, while the edges (the lines between the nodes) represent a connection between the entities.

We created a number of these network diagrams from our data.

All people

The boundaries of the race filmmaking community are porous, but its actors, directors, producers, and writers did constitute a closely connected community, as this network diagram shows. Click the image to interact with the full version. You can learn how to make your own network diagram with our data here.

This diagram includes all of the people in our database who are associated with films: actors, directors, producers, writers, cinematographers, and “otherwise involved.” The people are connected by an edge if they worked together in some capacity on at least one film. Darker edges mean that the two people worked together multiple times. Larger node sizes mean that the person represented by the node has many connections to other people.

We were interested to discover that the network seems to be composed of one main component and a number of smaller components. The large network seems to be composed of people who worked on films produced by Oscar Micheaux, the Lincoln Motion Picture Company, and Foster. Ebony film players are also deeply embedded within this larger network — intriguing, given the Ebony company’s controversial status as a race film company.

The range of less connected sub-networks seem to be associated with Peter P. Jones, Richard Maurice, and small companies that produced actualities.



All people and all films

All films and all people. Click the image to view an interactive version.
All films and all people. Click the image to view an interactive version.

While the first diagram helps show which people are connected, this diagram helps show how people are connected. It includes not only the people but the films that they worked on together. Once again, Oscar Micheaux appears at the center of the main network.