Black history is world history. Many people are quick to disregard "historical" moments as personally significant, thinking they happened a "lifetime ago", that we have learned the lessons, and stop there with, "Hey, we are doing better now, right?" altafiber's BOLD Employee Resource Group encourages you to think differently, because history is being made all the time.
Many experiences, milestones, and figures have lived and happened in your life, or within the life of someone close to you. Below is a chronological list of films, series, and documentaries that will help provide an inclusive window into these moments through the lens of the African Diaspora.
Movies based in the 1950s and 1960s
This time period in perspective: Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, when he was just 35 years old. If you are in your 20s or 30s reading this, your grandparents were probably around their teenage years.
- Nine from Little Rock Informative
This 1964 documentary covers the Arkansas school integration crisis during the fall of 1957 in just 20 minutes.
- Introducing Dorothy Dandridge Inspiring
TV Movie featuring Halle Berry as Dorothy Dandridge. Follow along as she paved her way to fame as a black dancer, singer, and actress in the 1950s.
- Ethnic Notions Triggering
This documentary traces the deep-rooted stereotypes which have fueled anti-black prejudice.
- Selma Inspiring
2014 feature film of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s campaign in securing equal voting rights through the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.
- Hidden Figures Inspiring
The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. This is also a book, if you prefer reading!
Movies based in the 1970s and 1980s
This time period in perspective: Many of our blog readers were probably born in this time! Famous people in relation? Will Smith was 10 years old in 1978 and Janelle Monáe was born in 1985.
- Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed Informative
A documentary on Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm's 1972 presidential bid.
- The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 Inspiring
2011 documentary by Swedish journalists during the Black Power Movement in the US.
- The People Vs. O.J. Simpson Informative
Netflix series diving into O.J. Simpson's murder trial and the impact it had on everyone.
- Sarafina! Inspiring
Musical story of South African teenagers experiencing the Soweto Uprising.
- Do The Right Thing Artistic
A reenactment of December 19, 1986, when violence broke out Brooklyn.
- The Gospel According to André Inspiring
This 2017 documentary portrays André Leon Tally's incredibly influential role in the world of fashion.
Movies based in the 1990s and 2000s
This time period in perspective: Now! We know you're not grouping this in the "too long ago to care" time, right?
- Tupac: Resurrection Inspiring
Documentary featuring home movies, photos, and recited poetry from one of the most beloved hip-hop MCs of all time, Tupac Shakur.
- Hotel Rwanda Triggering
A hotel manager houses over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Africa.
- Guava Island Artistic
Starring Donald Glover and Rihanna, this short film tells the story of a musician who wants to hold a festival to liberate the oppressed people of Guava Island.
- All In: Fight for Democracy Informative
2020 documentary taking a look at historical and current activism against voter suppression.
Black History Month is a time to reflect on diversity and inclusion, but also educate yourself and your family on the history and accomplishments of the black community. After immersing yourself in these films and documentaries, you will better understand and sympathize with what "history in the making" really means.
Not much of a movie-watcher? Consider reading one (or all!) of the following books to reflect on black history in the making:
- Kindred by Octavia E. Butler- This highly rated slave memoir/fantasy was the first science fiction written by a black woman.
- Buses Are a Comin': Memoir of a Freedom Writer by Charles Person and Richard Rooker- A firsthand exploration of the cost of boarding a bus, and the general struggle to belong in America.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas- Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this a powerful novel about a girl's struggle for justice.