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Anti-Racism Resources

Recommended Viewing

Documentary & Feature Films

  • I Am Not Your Negro. James Baldwin, Samuel Jackson. 94 mins. DVD Documentary (2016).

  • 12 Years a Slave. Chewetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Brad Pitt. 134 min. DVD Movie (2013).

  • Jackie Robinson. Ken Burns documentary. 2 discs, 240 mins. DVD documentary (2016).

  • 42: The Jackie Robinson Story. Christopher Meloni, Andre Holland. 128 mins. DVD Movie (2013).

  • King. Martin Luther King. History Channel. 94 min. DVD Documentary (2008).

  • A Raisin in the Sun, Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee. 128 min. DVD Movie (1961).

  • Milestones of the Civil Rights Movement. U.S. Post Office. 38 min. DVD Documentary.

  • Amistad. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey, Nigel Hawthorne, and David Paymer. 155mins. (1997).

    • Based on the true story from 1839 aboard the slave ship La Amistad, during which enslaved Mende tribesmen gained control of their captors' ship off the coast of Cuba, and finally surrendered to United States authorities. The convoluted case was ultimately resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1841 after John Quincy Adams makes an impassioned and eloquent plea for their release, and is successful.

  • Moment of Impact: Stories of the Pulitzer Prize Photographs. Sam Waterston. DVD Documentary (1999).

  • Beloved. Directed by Jonathan Demme, starring Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, and Thandie Newton. 172mins. (1998).

    • Based on‎: ‎Beloved‎; by ‎Toni Morrison,  the film tells the story of Sethe a slave on a Kentucky plantation. Now Sethe is free, and lives in a frame house on a few acres on the outskirts of Cincinnati--”124 Bluestone Road,” an ordinary house if it were not for the poltergeist that haunts it. When Paul D, who knew her years ago in Kentucky, enters the house, the spirit resents him. Inside this young woman there is the ghost of the young daughter who Sethe killed rather than have her returned to the plantation. Like the novel, “Beloved” does not tell this story in a straightforward manner. It is not an easy film to follow. The complexity is built out of Sethe's memories. The ones at the core are so painful that her mind circles them warily. Sethe was guilty of destroying property. The law did not see her or her child as human beings, and thus did not consider the death to be murder. In a society with those values, to kill can be seen as life-affirming. Some audience members, I imagine, will not like it--will find it confusing or too convoluted. Sethe's tragic story, drawn from a real recaptured slave’s story,  is the kind where the only happy ending is that it is over. Review adapted from Roger Ebert.

  • Race: The Power of an Illusion. Christine Herbes-Sommers (director), Tracy Heather Strain, and Llewellyn M. Smith (California Newsreel 2003). DVD or available on Vimeo. See Newsreeel.org.

  • Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. Aidan Quinn, Adam Beach. 132 min. DVD Made for TV (HBO) Movie (2011).

  • Do the Right Thing. Produced, written, and directed by Spike Lee. Stars Lee, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, and Samuel L. Jackson,  the feature film debut of Martin Lawrence and Rosie Perez. (1989).

     

 

  • Separate But Equal is a two-part (‎April 7 – April 8, 1991)

    • ‎‎ABC television miniseries depicting the landmark Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education case, based on the phrase "Separate but equal". The dramatization traces the events leading up to the landmark 1954 declaration that segregated schools are inherently unequal. The movie does portray  'bad evil white men against poor suffering black people'. It depicts many white men as respected, educated and willing to do the right thing but often afraid of the consequences of their decisions.  . . The heart of this film is the uncommon courage of the involved people. First from the Blacks who risked their jobs and safety, facing up to the Ku Klux Klan, to take complaints to local lawyers. The NAACP underwrote a long, expensive uphill battle. The judges on the Supreme Court, and in particular the Chief Judge Earl Warren showed uncommon courage to pull off a unanimous decision. Thanks to a Review by Asad Raza.Cabin In the Sky. Ethel Waters, Eddie Rochester Anderson, Lena Horn. 98 mins. DVD Movie (1943).

  • Reconstruction: America After the Civil War. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 4 hrs. on 2 disks. DVD Documentary (2019).

  • Slavery and the Making of America. Four-Part PBS Documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman. 188 mins. DVD Documentary (2004).Driving Miss Daisy. Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy. DVD Movie.

  • Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. PBS documentary. 90 mins. DVD Documentary (2012).Gentleman’s Agreement. Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield. 118 mins. DVD Movie (1947).

  • The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.Six-Part PBS Documentary narrated by Henry Louis Gates Jr. 6 hrs. On 2 disks. DVD Documentary (2013).Gideon’s Trumpet. Henry Fonda 104 min. DVD Hallmark Hall of Fame TV Movie (1979).

  • The Book of Negroes.  

    • Six-part television miniseries. DVD Documentary (2015). Based on the 2007 novel of the same name by Canadian writer Lawrence Hill. The book was inspired by the British freeing and evacuation of former slaves, known as Black Loyalists, who had left rebel masters during the American Revolutionary War.

  • Glory.

    • This powerful and complex movie is best for mature teens and up; it may be too intense for younger kids, even those who are Civil War buffs. Rigorous, even pitiless codes of military behavior is something worth talking about with kids, especially in military families. Families can talk about the history of racism in this country. How have things changed and how have they stayed the same since the Civil War? Following the Battle of Antietam, Col. Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick) is offered command of the United States' first all-African-American regiment, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. With junior officer Cabot Forbes (Cary Elwes), Shaw puts together a strong and proud unit, including the escaped slave Trip (Denzel Washington) and the wise gravedigger John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman). The Black soldiers are denied virtually every privilege and amenity that is matter of course for their white counterparts; as in armies past and future. At first limited to menial manual tasks, they fight to be placed in battle where they finally get to display the glories of war. 122 mins. (1989). From internet reviews.

  • Thomas Jefferson. Ken Burns documentary. 3 hrs. DVD documentary (1996).Green Book, Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali. 2 hrs. 10 mins. Blu-Ray/DVD Movie (2018)

  • Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn. 107 mins. DVD Movie (1967).

  • Harriet Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monae. 2 Hrs 5mins. Blue-ray Movie (2019).

  • Hidden Figures. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae. DVD or Blu-Ray (20th Century Fox, 2017).

  • In the Heat of the Night. Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger. 110 mins. DVD Movie (1967).

  • Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Halle Berry, Klaus Maria Brandauer. 115 min. DVD Movie (1999).

  • Just Mercy. Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson. 137 mins. Blu-Ray Movie (2019).

  • Lincoln. Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, DVD Movie (2012).

  • Malcolm X. Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, Spike Lee. 201 mins. Blu-Ray Movie (1992). 

  • Once Upon a Time...When We Were Colored. Director: Tim Reid Stars: Al Freeman Jr., Phylicia Rashad  (1995). A narrator tells the story of his childhood years in a tightly knit Afro-American community in the deep south under racial segregation.

  • Porgy and Bess. Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis Jr., Pearl Bailey. DVD Movie.

  • Sounder. Directed by Martin Ritt, starring Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, and Kevin Hooks. 105 mins. (1972).

    • Adapted by Lonne Elder III from the 1970 Newbery Medal-winning novel Sounder by William H. Armstrong  Simply told and universally moving, it is a most compassionate and truthful of movies. There's not a level where it doesn't succeed completely. It's one of those rare films that can communicate fully to a child of nine or ten, and yet contains depths and subtleties to engross any adult. The story is so simple because it involves, not so much what people do, but how they change and grow. Not a lot happens on the action level, but there's tremendous psychological movement. Hardly ever do movies create characters who are so full and real, and relationships that are so loving. Review adapted from Roger Ebert. Sounder by William H. Armstrong  Simply told and universally moving, it is a most compassionate and truthful of movies. There's not a level where it doesn't succeed completely. It's one of those rare films that can communicate fully to a child of nine or ten, and yet contains depths and subtleties to engross any adult. The story is so simple because it involves, not so much what people do, but how they change and grow. Not a lot happens on the action level, but there's tremendous psychological movement. Hardly ever do movies create characters who are so full and real, and relationships that are so loving. Review adapted from Roger Ebert.

  • The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Cicily Tyson.  DVD TV Movie

  • The Birth of a Nation (The Clansman). Directed by D.W. Griffith. 175 min. DVD Movie (1915).

    • This movie is included because it spread racial stereotypes based in Jim Crow distortions of American history that taint American culture until the present time.

  • The Butler. Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey. 132 min. DVD Movie (2013)

  • The Color Purple. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Whoopie Goldberg, Samuel Jackson, Oprah Winfrey,  154 mins. (1985). 

    • American coming-of-age period drama film with a screenplay by Menno Meyjes, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel of the same name by Alice Walker. A powerful tale of survival with wrenching scenes of abuse, The Color Purple is an intense drama. It deals with serious themes -- incest, marital abuse, overt racism and sexism – though mature teenagers will benefit from seeing the movie.

 

  • The Express: The Ernie Davis Story.Dennis Quaid, Rob Brown.@ Hrs. 10 mins. DVD Movie (2009).

 

  • The Great Debaters. Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker. 124 min. DVD Movie (2007).

 

  • The Help. Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard. 146 min. DVD Movie (2009).

 

  • To Kill a Mockingbird. Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Brock Peters. 2 Hrs. 10 mins. DVD Movie (1962).

* Most of these are available through Amazon.com or PBS.org. Most libraries have access to them.