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The Birth of A Nation is a silent film from 1915 and the highest grossing silent film in film history. The film tells a romance story during the American civil war. D.W. Griffith invested heavily in its high production values, pioneering many new camera effects. The Birth of a Nation was strongly protested for its negative portrayal of newly freed slaves (mostly white actors in blackface), which went on to create and propagate negative images of blacks of the early 20th century in the United States. The film was used as a recruiting propaganda by the KKK until the 1940s.