Rare Footage of Black Couple Kissing in 1898 Silent Film Discovered

Black couple kissing in silent film, Something Good-Negro Kiss

Extremely rare footage from an 1898 silent film titled Something Good-Negro Kiss shows an African American man and woman kissing. The clip is only 29 seconds, and is believed to be the earliest cinematic depiction of African-American affection.
The footage was discovered by an archivist at the University of Southern California named Dino Everett who was browsing through a collection of silent films he had acquired from a Louisiana collector. After examining the film, he noticed physical characteristics that convinced him that the film was made prior to the early 1900's.

Everett reached out to Allyson Nadia Field, an expert on African-American cinema at the University of Chicago, who helped identify the film and its historical significance. She was able to use inventory and distribution catalogs to trace the film's orgin to Chicago.

With help from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Field identified the actors as Saint Suttle and Gertie Brown, who in the clip are dressed in stage costumes common for minstrel performers.

In December 2018, the footage was added to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, and catalogued as one of 25 films that year selected as important to American culture. Other such films include The Shining, Jurassic Park, and Brokeback Mountain.