10 Films on Netflix That Will Educate You on Real Black History

Streaming movies and TV is more a part of our lives than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Netflix created a Black Lives Matter category full of movies and television shows that offer insight and perspective on being Black in America. We compiled a list of 10 films for anyone wanting to learn about the systemic injustices that Black people face in our country. These films range from documentaries to Broadway play adaptions and are meant to offer a first-hand perspective of what Black people go through. 

1. 13th | Directed by Ava DuVernay 

Still image from 13th Directed by Ava DuVernay.

This film takes the audience through the economic history of slavery and the racist legislation that emerged post-Civil War. The Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery, but leaves the loophole “except as punishment of a crime.” Ava DuVernay breaks down the ways this loophole has been abused from the moment the proclamation was put in place until now. 

2. Teach Us All | Directed by Sonia Lowman

Still image from Teach Us All Directed by Sonia Lowman

This documentary takes you into the schools of underserved Black and Brown communities to shed light on the disparities these children face. By interviewing students, staff and members of the community, Teach Us All demonstrates the segregation within this country’s education system. 

3. Miss Virginia | Directed by R.J. Daniel Hanna

Still image from Miss Virginia Directed by R. J. Daniel Hanna

This movie tells the true story of Virginia Walden Ford, a single mother living in Washington, D.C., that began the movement for a scholarship to help low-income students attend private schools. Her journey led to the nation’s first Opportunity Scholarship Program for low-income children.

4. American Son | Directed by Kenny Leon

Still Image from American Son Directed by Jenny Leon

This film is a adaption of a Broadway play that takes place entirely in the waiting room of a Miami police station after an estranged couples’ son is involved in an incident with the police. American Son consumes the audience with the anxiety and fear of not knowing what has happened to their son at the hands of the police that neglect to give useful information. 

5. LA 92 | Directed by T. J. Martin and Daniel Lindsay

Still image of riots in LA 92 Directed by T. J. Martin and Daniel Lindsay

This documentary delves into the Los Angeles Riots of 1992 using only raw footage of the events that sparked a movement. This documentary depicts the heartbreak felt by every Black American after hearing the not guilty sentencing of the cops that beat Rodney King on camera. 

6. All Day and a Night | Directed by Joe Robert Cole

Teenage Jahkor is sitting in a car as a younger version of himself is overlooking him

This film depicts the life of Jahkor, an aspiring rapper who winds up in prison serving a life sentence for murder and thinks back on the events in his life that led up to that point. Through seeing Jahkor’s life, the viewer takes a ride through the hardships and disadvantages that led Jahkor to a life behind bars.

7. Mudbound | Directed by Dee Rees

Still image from Mudbound Directed by Dee Rees

This film tells the story of an unlikely friendship formed between a Black man and a White man that share a bond of PTSD from the war. By depicting struggles shared by all veterans as well as demonstrating the backlash received by Black and White men who became friends due to their shared trauma.

8. Moonlight | Directed by Barry Jenkins

Still image from Moonlight Directed by Barry Jenkins.

This film depicts the life of a boy named Chiron as he grows up in Liberty City, Miami while he struggles with understanding his sexuality and identity, as well as showing the physical and emotional abuse he endured as a child. 

9. Barry | Directed by Vikram Gandhi

Still image from Barry Directed by Vikram Gandhi

This is movie is about the struggles that President Barack Obama faced as a Black man going to college at Columbia University in 1981. By depicting the racism and hatred that was dealt to Obama, the audience is left grappling with thinking about how many Black boys are being looked down upon and disregarded in the same way.

10. ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke | Directed by Kelly Duane de la Vega

Still image from ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke Directed by Kelly Duane de la Vega

This documentary walks the viewer through the controversy surrounding the mysterious murder of artist and activist Sam Cooke using interviews with family, friends, journalists and academics along with archival footage. 

Published by The TC Team

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