List

Black History Month Documentaries

By Cecilia Cygnar

In February, in honor of Black History Month, check out these documentaries on the Black experience, from either a contemporary or a historical point of view.

  • I Am Not your Negro

    2017

    Through an unfinished work by writer James Baldwin, the history of Black America is told from early 20th Century to #BlackLivesMatter.

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  • O.J: Made in America

    2016

    Although this film follows the sociological impact of OJ Simpson's life, the first several episodes are an excellent historical depiction of race in 1960s America.

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  • 4 Little Girls

    2000

    This powerful documentary film directed by Spike Lee captures how America would be forever altered by the death of four young Black girls.

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  • Freedom Summer

    Organizers and student civil rights workers register voters in 1964 Mississippi, confronting racism and resistance.

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  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

    2016

    An historical overview of the radical 1960s social movement that sought to empower African Americans and change the capitalist system.

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  • Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People

    2014

    This film explores African American personal identity and representation through family portraits and albums.

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  • The Talk: Race in America

    2017

    This is a powerful film about 'the talk' that parents of color must have with their children to teach them how to act around the police to remain safe, interwoven with personal narratives of police violence against young victims.

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  • Whose Streets?

    2017

    Unarmed teenager Michael Brown being killed by police marks a breaking point for the residents of Ferguson, Missouri. The footage shot on cell phones and handheld video cameras lends an immediacy to this look at the genesis of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

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  • 3-1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets

    2015

    In 2012, a black teen named Jordan Davis and three friends got into a verbal altercation with a white man who took issue with the volume of their music. When they refused to turn it down, Dunn fired 10 bullets, 3 of which hit Davis, who died at the scene.

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  • What Happened, Miss Simone?

    2016

    A chronicle of the complex and emotionally charged life of legendary Black musician and Civil Rights activist Nina Simone.

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  • Good Hair

    2010

    Definitely NOT the most serious film on this list, comedian Chris Rock tackles the issue of Black hair, and how good hair can affect relationships, fortunes, and self-esteem.

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