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10 Films to Watch During Black History Month

Maya Nalawade

Darien, CT

February is Black History Month, a month dedicated to the achievements of blacks in the U.S. and their role in U.S.’s history. Below are 10 movies that you should watch not only during, but in honor of Black History Month:

 Hidden Figures

This movie details the story of three women Katherine Goble, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughn working for NASA. Hidden Figures focuses on prejudice and inequality they faced in the workplace and the struggle they must face to move up in their position. Above all, this movie shows how these women were able to show people their intellectual ability and help during the Space Race.

Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Katherine Johnson, Janelle Monae

Freedom on My Mind

The documentary film describes the Mississippi voter registration struggles between 1961 and 1964 such as tensions, conflicts, fears and hopes. Participants interviewed include Robert Parris Moses, Victoria Gray Adams, Endesha Ida Mae Holland, and Freedom Summer volunteers Marshall Ganz, Heather Booth, and Pam Allen. This is a story about people coming together to attain democracy.

42

This movie is more for sport fans. It’s a biopic for Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play in Major League Baseball (MLB). It shows the signing of Jackie on to the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the abuse he had to face, including threats from the public to his family, taunts from other players, and criticism from the crowds. However, he changed everyone’s view with his amazing athletic skills and showed he deserves a place to play baseball. It’s important to show how it was a struggle to desegregate many aspects of life including sports, but at the end their struggle was met with success.

The Color Purple

This serious movie is a story about Cecile Harris’s life and two others women's struggle as black women during the 20th century facing domestic violence, sexism, poverty, and racism. After being inspired by each other and their African heritage, they overcome racist obstacles and lead better, more successful lives. This movie shows the importance of family, friends, and holding onto our own heritage.

 Selma

This movie portrays the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by James Bevel, Hosea Williams, Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis. It shows the events and thought processes leading to the march, the struggles they faced, and the determination to reach their goal and have equal voting rights. It shows the resilience of the Civil Rights Movement and their willpower for equality.

 Loving

This movie is about Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which went on to dismiss laws that prohibited interracial marriage. It shows the story of their love, their fight to have equal rights as a mixed-race family, and the criticism they faced. This story is about how two people were not only able to help themselves, but all interracial couples.

Glory

This movie features the story of the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first all-black regiments in the Union Army. It recounts their training by Union general Captain Robert Shaw. Glory illustrates their fight for equal pay, equality in seriousness, and equal jobs instead of manual labor. Finally, it shows them fighting to take over Fort Wager in South Carolina. This film is important because it goes on to explain how this one regiment inspired more black men to enter combat in the Civil War and fight for equality. It was so inspirational that Abraham Lincoln even called it one of the turning points of the war.

Malcolm X

This movie depicts the life of a Civil Right activist. It explains his incarceration in prison, conversion to Islam, new mindset to advocate for a more peaceful equality for Blacks, and his assassination. A series of flashbacks illustrates his childhood and the struggles he faced, such as his a mentally ill mom, racism, and the death of his father. The end of the movie shows a young Nelson Mandela, inspired by Malcolm, to call for the end for Apartheid. It’s important to see how one man, Malcolm X, was inspired to call for a change that affected so many and started a spark for equality.

Stars: Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, and Angela Bassett

I Am Not Your Negro

This film is based on James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript, Remember This House. The documentary explores the history of racism and civil rights in the United States through Baldwin's accounts of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr, and his own personal views on American history. It portrays the struggle blacks faced during the Civil Rights movement and in history, including how how their fight for equality has affected how we view race today.

Stars: Narrated by Samuel. L. Jackson and the story is of James Baldwin

Ernest Green

This movie is about Ernest Green, one of the Little Rock Nine students who were the beginning of a movement to integrate schools. It details his journey into desegregating school, the criticism he received but how he was able to overcome it. It’s an important movie that teaches people about how teenagars can have such a big impact because of their brave actions.

Stars: Morris Chestnut


 
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