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Films on the African-American Experience


Civil Rights




4 Little Girls

Documentary (1997)


A documentary about the notorious terrorist bombing of an African-American church during the Civil Rights movement.

A Raisin in the Sun

Drama (1961)

Sidney Poitier

Classic drama by Lorraine Hansberry, a substantial insurance payment creates opportunities and conflicts in a low income African-American family.

Black Like Me

Drama (1964)

James Whitmore
Sorrell Brooke

The true account of John Griffin's experiences when he passed as a black man, in the south in the 1960's.

Eyes on the Prize

Documentary (1987)


A comprehensive and engaging multi-part documentary about the American Civil Rights Movement from 1952 to 1965.

Ghost of Mississippi

Drama (1996)

Whoopi Goldberg

The widow of murdered civil rights leader Medger Evers and a district attorney struggle to bring the murderer to justice.

Heat Wave

Drama (1990)

Cicely Tyson
Blaire Underwood
James Earl Jones

TV movie about the Watts riots in Los Angeles in the 1960's.

Blazing Saddles

Comedy (1974)

Cleavon Little
Gene Wilder

To ruin a western town, a corrupt political boss appoints a black sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary.


Drama (2001)

Jeffery Wright
Terrence Howard

Black Americans boycott the public buses in Montgomery during the 1950's civil rights movement.

Of Civil Wrongs & Rights: The Fred Korematsu Story

Documentary (2000)

Fred Korematsu

A national civil rights hero, who in 1942 at the age of 23, refused to go to the is governments incarceration camp for Japanese-Americans. His case went all the way to the Supreme Court.


Drama (1974)

Jon Voight
Paul Winfield
Madge Sinclair

In 1969, a white man starts a job teaching at a small poor all black school located on Daufuskie Island off the coast of South Carolina.


Bio/Drama (1982)

Ben Kingsley

Biography of Mahatma Gandhi, the lawyer who became the famed leader of the Indian revolts against the British rule through his philosophy of non-violent protest. He was an inspiration to Martin Luther King.

King: Miniseries

Bio/Drama (1978)

Paul Winfield
Cicely Tyson

The story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., stretching from his days as a Southern Baptist minister up to his assassination in Memphis in 1968.

American Experience: Freedom Riders

Drama (2010)

Raymond Arsenault

This is the story of more than four hundred Americans who participated in a bold and dangerous experiment designed to awaken the conscience of a complacent nation. These self-proclaimed, 'Freedom Riders' challenged the mores of a racially segregated society by performing a disarmingly simple act.

Brother Outsiders: The Life of Bayard Rustin

Documentary (2003)

Bayard Rustin
Dorothy Jackson

Documentary on Bayard Rustin, best-remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington.

Freedom Song

Drama (2000)

Danny Glover

A father, a son and a movement that would change America forever.

King: A Film Record: Montgomery to Memphis

Documentary (1970)

Paul Newman
Joanne Woodward

A biography of Martin Luther Kung through newsstand footage and recordings, narrated by celebrities.

Native Land

Drama (1942)

Paul Robeson
Fred Johnson

Paul Robeson narrates a mix of dramatizations and archival footage about the bill of rights being under attack during the 1930s

Malcolm X

Drama (1992)

Denzel Washington
Angela Bassett

The biopic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader.

Mississippi Burning

Drama (1998)

Gene Hackman
Willem Dafoe

Two FBI agents with wildly different styles arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists.

Murder in Mississippi

Drama (1990)

Blair Underwood
Jennifer Grey

TV movie that dramatizes the last few weeks of three young civil rights activists and the events leading up to their murder 1964.

Ruby Bridges

Drama (1998)

Chaz Monet
Penelope Ann Miller

The true story of Ruby Bridges, an African-American girl who, in 1960 at age 6, helped to integrate the all-white schools of New Orleans.

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

Drama (1974)

Cicely Tyson

Story of a black woman in the South who was born into slavery in the 1850s and lives to become a part of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

The Color Purple

Drama (1985)

Danny Glover
Whoopi Goldberg

The life and trials of a young African American woman. Based on the acclaimed novel by Alice Walker. Produced by Oprah Winfrey.

The Good Fight: James Farmer Remembers

Documentary (2009)

James Farmer

When he rolled into the Jim Crow South on a Greyhound bus - a black man sitting in the whites-only front seat - James Farmer was scared. Courage is not being unafraid, but doing what needs to be done in spite of fear, said the founder of the Freedom Rides and pioneer of the earliest sit-ins.

The Jackie Robinson Story

Biography (1950)

Jackie Robinson

Biography of Jackie Robinson, the first black major league baseball player who traces his career in the Negro leagues and the major leagues.

The Long Walk Home

Drama (1990)

Sissy Spacek
Whoopi Goldberg

Two women, black and white, in 1955 Montgomery Alabama, must decide what they are going to do in response to the famous bus boycott lead by Martin Luther King.

The Rosa Parks Story

Bio/Drama (2002)

Angela Bassett
Peter Francis James

The story of the civil rights heroine whose refusal to obey racial bus segregation was just one of her acts in her fight for justice.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Drama (1962)

Gregory Peck
Brock Peters

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice.

With All Deliberate Speed

Documentary (2004)

Vernon Jordan
Thurgood Marshall, Jr.

Documentary filmmaker Peter Gilbert unearths the legacy of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education.

Black History




A Great Day in Harlem

Documentary (1995)

Dizzy Gillespie
Milt Hinton

In 1958, Art Kane coordinated a group photograph of all the top black jazz musicians. This wonderful documentary tells the story of how it all came together and what happened.

A Soldier's Story

Drama (1984)

Howard E. Rollins, Jr.
Adolph Caesar

An African-American officer investigates a murder in a racially charged situation in World War II.

Akeelah and the Bee

Drama (2006)

Angela Basset
Laurence Fishburne

A young girl from South Los Angeles tries to make it to the National Spelling Bee.


Bio/Drama (2001)

Will Smith
Jamie Fox

A biography of sports legend, Muhammad Ali, from his early days to his days of triumph in the ring.


Drama (1997)

Djimon Hounsou
Anthony Hopkins

About a 1839 mutiny aboard a slave ship that is traveling towards the northeastern coast of America. Much of the story involves a court-room drama about the free man who led the revolt.

Do the Right Thing

Drama (1989)

Danny Aiello
Ossie Davis
Ruby Dee

On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence.

Get on the Bus

Drama (1996)

Ossie Davis
Charles Dutton

Get on the Bus follows several Black men on a cross country bus trip to the Million Man March.


Drama (1989)

Matthew Broderick
Denzel Washington

Robert Gould Shaw leads the US Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting the prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Drama (1967)

Spencer Tracy
Sydney Poitier

A white couple attitudes are challenged when their daughter brings home her fiancé who happens to be black.

Jasper, TX

Drama (2003)

Louis Gossett, Jr.
Jon Voight

In 1998, three white men in the small town of Jasper, Texas, chained a black man to the back of their pickup truck and dragged him to his death.


Comedy (1988)

Sonny Bono Divine

A 'pleasantly plump' teenager teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show.

Scottsboro: An American Tragedy

Documentary (2000)

Francis McDormand
Stanley Tucci

A look at the infamous "Scottsboro Boys" case that occurred in Alabama in 1931, in which nine young black men were arrested, tried and quickly convicted in the rape of two white women, regardless of the evidence that proves otherwise.

In the Heat of the Night

Crime/Drama (1967)

Sidney Poitier
Rod Steiger

An African-American detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racist southern town.

Introducing Dorothy Dandridge

Drama (1999)

Halle Berry

This biography of Dorothy Dandridge follows her career through early days on the club circuit with her sister to her turn in movies, including becoming the first black actress to win a Best Actress Nomination in 1954 for Carmen Jones.

Men of Honor

Drama/Bio (2000)

Cuba Gooding
Robert De Niro

The story of Carl Brashear, the first African American, then also the first amputee, US Navy Diver and the man who trained him.


Drama/Crime (2007)

Terrence Howard
Bernie Mac

The determined Jim Ellis starts a swim team for troubled teens at the Philadelphia Department of Recreation.

Remember the Titans

Bio/Drama (2007)

Denzel Washington
William Patton

The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.


Drama (1977)

LeVar Burton
Ben Vereen

A dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendants' liberation.


Drama/Action (1997)

Jon Voight

A dramatization of a 1923 horrific racist lynch mob attack on an African American community.

Something the Lord Made

Bio/Drama (2004)

Alan Rickman
Mos Def

A dramatization of the relationship between heart surgery pioneers Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas.


Drama (1972)

Cicely Tyson
Paul Winfield

The story of a boy, his dog, his family and black sharecroppers in Louisiana in the 1930's.

The Color Purple

Drama (1982)

Danny Glover
Whoopi Goldberg

The life and trials of a young African American woman.

The Great Debaters

Bio/Drama (2007)

Denzel Washington

A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas who made his black students into formidable debate team that even gave the Harvard team a run for their money.

The Great White Hope

Comedy (1996)

Samual Jackson
Jeff Goldblum

When the champ's promoter, Rev. Sultan, decides something new is needed to boost the marketability of the boxing matches, he searches and finds the only man to ever beat the champ.

The Tuskegee Airmen

Drama (1995)

Laurence Fishburne
Allen Payne

The true story of how a group of African American pilots overcame racist opposition to become one of the finest US fighter groups in World War II.

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Drama (2005)

Halle Berry

A drama set in the 1920s, where free-spirited Janie Crawford's search for happiness leads her through several different marriages, challenging the morals of her small town. Based on the novel by Zora Neale Hurston.

When We Were Kings

Documentary (1996)

Muhammad Ali
George Foreman

A documentary of the 1974 heavyweight championship bout in Zaire between champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali.

White Dog

Drama (1992)

Kristy McNichol
Christa Lang

A trainer attempts to retrain a vicious dog that's been raised to kill black people.


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