Yes, the film - "Birth of a Nation - is still studied for its techincal brilliance. Considered from a purely technical perspective, it ranks with "Citizen Kane" as an achievement in innovation.
This introduces a problem that has long plagued ethicists: How to distinguish between technically brilliant achievements/artistic oeuvres, and the morally deranged people who produced these achievements and artistic works? Can someone appreciate "art for art's sake" [here, I understand the term art in its very broadest sense, in the sense of a produced artifact] in good conscious, while being totally aware of moral depravity of the person(s) who produced this art? To take only a few examples:
1.) Wagner produced some of the most beautiful and technically brilliant opere ever composed. On the other hand, he was an infamous anti-semite. As I know, any performances of his opere were banned in the state of Israel.
2.) The famous American poet, Ezra Pound - most famous as author of the Cantos - was a rabid anti-semite and fascist sympathizer. In fact, during World War Two, he lived in Italy and made many radio broadcasts praising Mussolini and attacking "Jewish bankers." At the end of the war, he was captured and imprisoned by the Americans. He was charged with treason, for which he faced execution. When the Americans caught him, they put him in a cage outside in a courtyard. Eventually, he was declared insane and put in a psychiatric hospital.
3.) Ty Cobb, the "Georgia Peach" - was a wizard on the baseball diamond, but a hateful racist. Does he deserve a place in the "Hall of Fame." Or should he be banished to the "Hall of Shame"?
Should these people be excused simply because they lived in an era when racism and anti-semitism were "in the air," and integral to society in general? Do they get a reprieve on this account?