Black History Month provides a unique opportunity to recognize the many struggles and achievements of the African American people. Since everyone loves to watch movies, celebrate the Month by selecting films from this list.
Movies For People Ages Eight and Older
Though just covering the two years when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, this film reveals the courage of both Robinson and his team’s manager Branch Rickey. The decisions these two made broke another brick in the wall at a time just before the Civil Rights era began.
Akeelah and the Bee
Akeelah is a Black girl from Los Angeles who realizes she is an excellent speller and wants to go to the National Spelling Bee. Of course, other students in the school are also looking to compete in the “Bee,” and the rivalry and pressure are central themes in the movie.
A Ballerina’s Tale
This documentary film examines the life and career of Misty Copeland, the first Black principal ballerina at the American Ballet Theatre.
The script for this movie was inspired by a painting of Belle and her cousin. This film tells Belle’s story and how her influence with the Chief Justice significantly influenced the movement to abolish slavery in England.
Betty and Coretta
Two of the strongest Civil Rights leaders were Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Both had wives, Betty Shabazz and Coretta Scott King, who were just as strong. This film follows these two women after the assassinations of their husbands and how they took on their leadership roles in the civil rights movement.
The Color of Friendship
This Disney TV film, based upon actual events, follows the friendship that develops when a white South African girl who is the daughter of a police officer spends a semester with a Black girl in America who is the daughter of a U.S. Congressman during the Apartheid era in South Africa.
Here is the true story of former Miami Dolphin Tony Nathan, who, as a student, was part of the mandated desegregation of the Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, AL, in 1973.
Movies For People Ages 12 and Older
It is remarkable because it is the first movie from Marvel with a Black superhero, and most of the film’s cast is also Black. The story tells how T’Challa (the Black Panther) becomes king of Wakanda after his father’s death.
Interracial marriage became legal in the United States in 1967. But, before that became law, some couples ignored it. One such couple was the Lovings – Richard and Mildred. They were arrested after marriage, and their legal case, Loving v. Virginia, became the foundation of the court’s ruling. This movie is based on actual events.
Skeeter Phelan returns home to Mississippi during the 1960s to write her first novel. In researching the book, she begins to interview Black women who have been housekeepers, cooks, nannies, and more for white families in her hometown. Watching how her interviews progress and the upset in the community, viewers learn essential lessons about the racial inequalities, segregation, and oppression that drove forward the Civil Rights movement.
Pursuit of Happyness
Another true story that came to film, this movie follows the life of a Black man who struggles to care for and provide for the son he loves. From a salesman to a stockbroker, his sacrifices, determination, and success all came from his motivation to succeed.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham
Based upon the book of the same name, this Hallmark movie follows the Watsons, a Black family that decides to road trip to Birmingham, AL, in the middle of the Civil Rights movement. As the Watsons get caught up in the strife and struggles in Birmingham, viewers can watch history come to life.
Movies For People Ages 13 and Older
Coach Ken Carter is a Black American business owner, education activist, and former high school basketball coach. This movie portrayed his impact when he was hired to make the school’s basketball team successful. By implementing the importance of discipline, rules, respect, and support for each other. Both on the court and in the classroom.
The Great Debaters
Professor Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College, an HBC university in Texas, worked with the college’s debate team to build them up, creating a solid and competitive team that eventually went to the nationals, competing against Harvard.
Harriet Tubman was born in slavery in Maryland but escaped. When she was thought to have drowned, she made her way to Philadelphia and met William Still, chairman of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society.
This movie leads you through her life.
The Hate U Give
Based upon a YA novel of the same name, we follow the life of 16-year-old Starr Carter, who lives in a Black neighborhood with her family but goes to a mainly white prep school. When coming home from a party with her friend Khalil, they are stopped by the police for a traffic violation. This starts a sequence of events that portray the tensions between the police and the Black community.
This biographical film portrays the life of civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson. Mr. Stevenson’s life focuses on wrongfully convicted prisoners, many of whom are on death row in the South.
Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard, planned to turn both girls into professional players before they were even born. This uplifting film portrays Richard’s unwavering belief in his girls and the strength and love behind that belief.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Cecil Gaines’ character is a butler in the White House for 30 years and through eight presidencies and portrays the life of the real-life Eugene Allen, who had a front row to American history from 1952 until 1986, when he retired.
Born Malcolm Little, this film follows his early life from childhood to his imprisonment. Upon meeting members of the Nation of Islam and learning their doctrine, he becomes a follower. This movie takes you through his life’s journey.
During World War Two, the Tuskeegee Airmen picked up the fight in the skies over Italy. This film portrays how the 322d fighter group, all black pilots nicknamed “Red Tails,” overcame racial bias about their intellect and aptitude to become men recognized for their bravery and skill and fighting in WWII.
Portraying the events before and surrounding Martin Luther King Jr’s history-making 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, this film sheds light on the need for voter rights for everyone, regardless of race.
Here is a brief list of additional titles more appropriate for adults. If you wish to share any of these with your children of any age, please view them first.
- 12 Years A Slave
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – new
- The Color Purple
- Do the Right Thing
- The Last Dance
- One Night in Miami
Edited by the Girls Nite Live Team