23 Films, Television Shows, and Documentaries to Watch During Black History Month

Image via wikipedia.com

Shavonne McLamb

Contributing Writer

We are in the middle of Black History Month so here are a few films, shows, and documentaries you might enjoy and want to learn more about.

1. “Roots” Mini-Series (1977) starring LeVar Burton (23) ROOTS miniseries premiere – January 1977 ABC-TV – YouTube

       This version of Roots premiered in 1977 and broke records with 28 million viewers watching the first episode. The mini-series was based on Alex Haley’s novel, Roots, which traced back his family history. This series showcased the horrors and violence of slavery.         

2. “Amistad” (1997) starring Djimon Hounsou (23) Amistad – Trailer – YouTube  

3. “The Color Purple” (1985) starring Oprah Winfrey (23) The Color Purple (1985) Official Trailer – Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg Movie HD – YouTube 

4.”What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali” (2019) (23) What’s My Name | Muhammad Ali (2019) | Official Trailer | HBO – YouTube 

5. “Malcolm X” (1992) starring Denzel Washington (23) Malcolm X (1992) Official Trailer – Denzel Washington Movie HD – YouTube 

6. “One Night in Miami” (2020) starring Aldis Hodge (23) One Night in Miami… | Official Trailer – YouTube

       This film is the directorial debut of Regina King, One Night in Miami is the fictional story of four Black icons: Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, and Malcolm X. It takes place after Ali became the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World in 1964. Here, we see these men discuss their roles in the Civil Rights Movement.                                                                                        

7. 1619 Project (2023) (23) The 1619 Project | Official Trailer | Hulu – YouTube 

8. “Women of the Movement” (2022) starring Adrienne Warren (23) Women Of The Movement ABC Trailer – YouTube

       The mini-series Women of the Movement tells the story of Mamie Till-Mobley and her fight for justice after her son, Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi. Her fight helped kick off the Civil Rights Movement. The audience will learn more about Emmett and his mother before that fateful trip. Viewer Discretion is highly advised as the series showcases extremely violent scenes and disturbing images!

9. “Selma” (2015) starring Oprah Winfrey  (23) Selma Official Trailer #1 (2015) – Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr. Movie HD – YouTube 

10. “The Rosa Parks Story” (2002) starring Angela Bassett(23) The Rosa Parks Story – Trailer – YouTube 

11. “Get on the Bus” (1996) starring Ossie Davis (23) Get on the Bus (1996) – Teaser Trailer – YouTube

       Another Spike Lee Joint which is about a group of men traveling by bus to the Million Man March which was held in Washington, D.C. in October of 1995. This film showcases Black men of all different ages and discusses what it is like to be a Black Man in America.    

12. “Boycott” (2001) starring Jeffrey Wright (23) HBO’s Boycott 2001 – YouTube 

13. “Do the Right Thing” (1989) starring Spike Lee (23) Do the Right Thing | Restored Trailer [HD] | Coolidge Corner Theatre – YouTube 

14. “Blackkklanman” (2018) starring John David Washington (23) BlacKkKlansman Trailer #1 (2018) | Movieclips Trailers – YouTube

       This Spike Lee Joint is based on the biography of Ron Stallworth, Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigation of a Lifetime, and tells the story of Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer, who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan.                                   

15. “Judas and the Black Messiah” (2021) starring Daniel Kaluuya (23) JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH – Official Trailer – YouTube  

16. “Get On Up” (2014) starring Chadwick Boseman (23) Get On Up Official Trailer #1 (2014) – James Brown Biography HD – YouTube

       The late Chadwick Boseman gets lost in his role starring in the biopic of James Brown and how he became known as “The Godfather of Soul”. The audience will learn about his childhood and rise from poverty and how he became a musical icon.                           

17. “Roots” Mini-Series (2016) starring Malachi Kirby (23) Roots: The Journey Begins with a Name | History – YouTube 

18. “Marshall” (2017) starring Chadwick Boseman (23) Marshall Trailer #1 (2017) | Movieclips Trailers – YouTube  

19. “Queen of Katwe” starring Madina Nalwanga (23) Queen of Katwe Official Trailer #1 (2016) – Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo Movie HD – YouTube 

20. “Hotel Rwanda” (2005) starring Don Cheadle (23) Hotel Rwanda (2005) | Official Trailer | MGM Studios – YouTube 

21. “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” (2013) starring Idris Elba (23) Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom Official Trailer #2 (2013) – Idris Elba Movie HD – YouTube 

22. “I Am Not Your Negro” (2016) starring Samuel L. Jackson (23) I Am Not Your Negro Official Trailer 1 (2016) – James Baldwin Documentary – YouTube  

23. “Black Panther” (2018) starring Chadwick Boseman (23) Marvel Studios’ Black Panther – Official Trailer – YouTube

       Black Panther tells the story of King T’Challa after mourning the death of his father and his journey to becoming King. This film was a cultural phenomenon that came out in 2018! This film broke barriers because it was a majority Black cast and the film made $1.3 billion at the box office. Black Panther showed Hollywood and the world that Black people can be superheroes and was a great representation of the culture, especially Black children.                                                                                                                                                   

These films, shows, and documentaries were chosen to showcase the different sides of Black History and how the Black experience is not a monolithic one. Black people have contributed a lot to this country and to the world around us.


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