West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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Black History & Experiences (Movies)

Powerful documentaries and dramas that discuss Black experiences, history, creators, leaders, and families.

A wrinkle in time

After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him

Get Out

A young black man meets his white girlfriend's parents at their estate, only to find out that the situation is much more sinister than it appears

Moonlight

A young black man struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami

Us

Haunted by trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide grows increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family. After spending a tense beach day with their friends, Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home. When darkness falls, the Wilsons discover the silhouette of four figures holding hands as they stand in the driveway. The endearing American family faces doppelgangers of themselves

BlacKkKlansman

Based on a true story, in the early 1970s, an African American police officer orchestrates a plan to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan

Do the right thing : 2-disc edition

"The hottest day of the year explodes onscreen in this vibrant look at a day in the life of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. A portrait of urban racial tensions sparked controversy while earning popular and critical praise,"--Container

Fences

A black garbage collector named Troy Maxson in 1950s Pittsburgh is bitter that baseball's color barrier was only broken after his own heyday in the Negro Leagues, Maxson is prone to taking out his frustrations on his loved ones

Hidden figures .

As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes

If Beale Street could talk

A timeless love story set in early 1970s Harlem involving newly engaged nineteen-year- old Tish and her fiance Fonny who have a beautiful future ahead. But their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Now the pair and their families must fight for justice in the name of love and the promise of the American dream

Malcolm X

Screen version of the life of Malcolm X, who through his religious conversion to Islam, found the strength to rise up from a criminal past to become an influential civil rights leader

Red tails

Italy, 1944. As the war takes its toll on Allied forces in Europe, a squadron of black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen are finally given the chance to prove themselves in the sky, even as they battle discrimination on the ground. Featuring jaw-dropping aerial action and thrilling special effects, Red Tails is a breathtaking tribute to the unsung heroes who rose above extraordinary challenges and ultimately soared into history

Selma

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historical struggle to secure voting rights for all people. A dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated with an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1964

Sorry to bother you

In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a macabre universe

Southside With You

Chronicles the summer afternoon in 1989 when the future President of the United States, Barack Obama, wooed the future First Lady, Michelle Robinson, on an epic first date across Chicago's South Side

Straight outta Compton

In 1987, five young men, using brutally honest rhymes and hardcore beats, put their frustration and anger about life in the most dangerous place in America into the most powerful weapon they had: their music. Taking viewers back to where it all began, the film tells the true story of how these cultural rebels-armed only with their lyrics, swagger, bravado and raw talent-stood up to the authorities that meant to keep them down and formed the world's most dangerous group, N.W.A

The Hate U Give

A girl from a poor black neighborhood attending a rich mostly white prep school witnesses her childhood friend being killed by a police officer and faces a difficult dilemma

The Tuskegee airmen

It is 1943 and the Germans are winning the Second World War as the U.S. suffers huge losses on the ground and in the air. Four newly recruited pilots are united by a desire to serve their country, at a time when Black flyers are not welcomed in the Air Force. Now, through the brutal demands of their training, to the perils of flying over nations at war, the men they call "The Tuskegee Airmen" must undertake the riskiest mission of their lives--to prove to America that courage knows no color. Their success could earn them respect, save lives and help win a terrible war. Their failure could destroy more hopes and dreams than their own

42

History was made in 1947, when Jackie Robinson broke the professional baseball race barrier to become the first African American MLB player of the modern era. 42 tells the life story of Robinson and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey

12 years a slave

Based on the true story of Solomon Northup. It is 1841, and Northup, an accomplished, free citizen of New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Stripped of his identity and deprived of all dignity, Northup is ultimately purchased by ruthless plantation owner Edwin Epps and must find the strength within to survive. Filled with powerful performances by an astonishing cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, and newcomer Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave is both an unflinching account of slavery in American history and a celebration of the indomitable power of hope

Thurgood

The remarkable celebration of the life and legacy of civil rights advocate and Supreme Court pioneer Thurgood Marshall, the first African American appointed to the nation's highest judicial bench. Filmed before a live audience at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater, this compelling one-man play written by Peabody Award and Emmy Award winner George Stevens, Jr. and directed by Emmy Award winner Michael Stevens stars the Emmy Award and Tony Award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne

The birth of a nation

Nat Turner is a literate American slave and preacher. His financially strained owner accepts an offer to use Nat's preaching to subdue unruly slaves. But as Nat witnesses countless atrocities, he orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom

Dear White People. Season 1

Based on the acclaimed movie, this is an episodic series that tells the story of a group of black students navigating the daily slights and slippery politics of life at an Ivy League college that's not nearly as post-racial as it thinks

Dear white people

A sharp and funny comedy about a group of African-American students as they navigate campus life and racial boundaries at a predominately white college. A sly, provocative satire about being a black face in a white place

Loving

The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, whose challenge of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court

The great debaters . 2-DVD edition

Melvin B. Tolson is a professor at Wiley College in Texas. Wiley is a small African-American college. In 1935, Tolson inspired students to form the school's first debate team. Tolson turns a group of underdog students into a historically elite debate team which goes on to challenge Harvard in the national championship. Inspired by a true story

The color purple

An uneducated woman living in the rural American south who was raped by her father, deprived of the children she bore him and forced to marry a brutal man she calls "Mister" is transformed by the friendship of two remarkable women, acquiring self-worth and the strength to forgive

Just Mercy

A powerful and thought-provoking true story follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley. One of his first and most incendiary cases is that of Walter McMillian

The Black Panthers : vanguard of the revolution

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is the first feature length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails. Master documentarian Stanley Nelson goes straight to the source, weaving a treasure trove of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. Featuring Kathleen Cleaver, Elaine Brown, Emory Douglas, Jamal Joseph, and many others, its an essential history and a vibrant chronicle of this pivotal movement that birthed a new revolutionary culture in America

Black Panther

King T'Challa returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as new leader. However, T'Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from divisions within his own country. When two enemies conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must join forces with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Wakandan Special Forces, to prevent Wakanda from being drawn into a world war

Fruitvale station

The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure, what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: Being a better son to his mother, being a better partner to his girlfriend, and being a better father to T, their beautiful four-year-old-daughter. He starts out well, but as the day goes on, he realizes that change is not going to come easy

Black America since MLK : and still I rise

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. embarks on a deeply personal journey through the last fifty years of African American history. Joined by leading scholars, celebrities, and a dynamic cast of people who shaped these years, Gates travels from the victories of the civil rights movement up to today, asking profound questions about the state of black America, and our nation as a whole

Black Kung Fu experience

This film focuses on how a group of African American pioneers became respected masters in a subculture dominated by Chinese and white men

Freedom summer : Mississippi 1964

In the hot and deadly summer of 1964, the nation could not turn away from Mississippi. Over ten memorable weeks known as Freedom Summer, more than 700 student volunteers joined with organizers and local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in one of the nation's most segregated states, even in the face of intimidation, physical violence, and death

Good hair

Comedian Chris Rock tackles the very personal issue of hair, and how attaining good hair can affect relationships, wallets, and a person's self-esteem. Features interviews with Dr. Maya Angelou, Nia Long, Ice-T, Raven Symone, and more. Bonus features include deleted scenes, featurette, and commentary

Harlem Renaissance : the music & rhythms that started a cultural revolution

In the 1920s, African-American literature, art, music, dance, and social commentary flourished in Harlem, in uptown New York City. This cultural movement, which redefined African-American expression, became known as the Harlem Renaissance. Music became the centerpiece that this movement was built around, launching an artistic awakening rather than a social revolt. Featuring commentary from historians and the performers themselves, this program traces the roots of the music, its social impact on society and its eventual acceptance in mainstream culture

I am not your negro

Master documentary filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin's original words and a flood of rich archival material. A journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter

The Central Park five

Chronicles America's complicated perceptions of race and crime through the story of the Central Park 5--a group of minority teenagers wrongfully convicted of brutally raping a white woman in New York

Spies of Mississippi

Enter the chilling world of anti-civil rights espionage. The documentary reveals in shocking detail the state of Mississippi's effort to undermine the civil rights movement using a vast network of spies. Their identities will be shocking. Whites and Blacks spied for Old Dixie. And the Sovereignty Commission would stop at nothing, even murder, to retain the 'Mississippi way of life.'

Through a Lens Darkly

The first documentary to explore the role of photography in shaping the identity, aspirations and social emergence of African Americans from slavery to the present, Through a Lens Darkly probes the recesses of American history by discovering images that have been suppressed, forgotten and lost. Bringing to light the hidden and unknown photos shot by both professional and vernacular African American photographers, the film opens a window into lives, experiences and perspectives of black families that is absent from the traditional historical canon. These images show a much more complex and nuanced view of American culture and society and its founding ideals. Inspired by Deborah Willis's book Reflections in Black and featuring the works of Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Anthony Barboza, Hank Willis Thomas, Coco Fusco, Clarissa Sligh and many others, Through a Lens Darkly introduces the viewer to a diverse yet focused community of storytellers who transform singular experiences into a communal journey of discovery – and a call to action

Welcome to Death Row

In the wake of Suge Knight's move to destroy NWA and Ruthless, Death Row Records exploded on the music scene in 1993 with a “gangster rap” sound that had taken the world by storm. Despite its unprecedented success with stars such as Dr. Dre, Snoop and Tupac, it quickly unraveled in a firestorm of rivalries, greed, and violence as Knight’s business methods increasingly mirrored the violent, hard-edged themes of its music.. This is the complete and untold story of this unique enterprise, told entirely in the words of the people who were there.. “It’s the film Suge Knight doesn’t want you to see” – National Enquirer. “Riveting.” - San Francisco Chronicle

Freedom summer : Mississippi 1964

In the hot and deadly summer of 1964, the nation could not turn away from Mississippi. Over ten memorable weeks known as Freedom Summer, more than 700 student volunteers joined with organizers and local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in one of the nation's most segregated states, even in the face of intimidation, physical violence, and death

When Justice isn't Just

In 2015 what is commonly questioned, “Justice,” and how it’s applied. Our 40 minute documentary short tells the stories surrounding the perception of justice and unarmed incidents. The dynamic documentary features legal experts, local activists, and law enforcement officers delving into ongoing charges of inequality, unfair practices, and politicized manipulations of America's judicial system.. Additionally, the Black Lives Matter movement and citizens nationwide question the staggering number of police shootings of unarmed Black men and women.

Whose streets?

Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, with an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri. Grief, long-standing racial tensions, and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy

The talk : race in America

A two-hour film about "the talk' that parents have with their children of color (primarily boys) to teach them how to act around the police in order to remain safe

The Tuskegee airmen

It is 1943 and the Germans are winning the Second World War as the U.S. suffers huge losses on the ground and in the air. Four newly recruited pilots are united by a desire to serve their country, at a time when Black flyers are not welcomed in the Air Force. Now, through the brutal demands of their training, to the perils of flying over nations at war, the men they call "The Tuskegee Airmen" must undertake the riskiest mission of their lives--to prove to America that courage knows no color. Their success could earn them respect, save lives and help win a terrible war. Their failure could destroy more hopes and dreams than their own

Finding the gold within

Six young African American men from Akron, Ohio enter college where they have to navigate persistent racial provocations. Alumni of the unique Akron, Ohio mentoring program, Alchemy, they share their trials and triumphs with honesty, astonishing vulnerability, and raw emotion

Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap

The craft. The history. The power. All these elements of the hip-hop movement are discussed with director Ice-T and the legends he interviews —Afrika Bambaataa, Eminem, Nas, Mos Def, Kanye West, Chuck D, KRS-One, Snoop Dogg, Run-DMC, and Ice Cube—in this compelling and gritty feature-length documentary.. An Official Selection of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, SOMETHING FROM NOTHING: THE ART OF RAP explores and pays tribute to this most original American art form.. Nominated for Best Movie at the BET Awards. "In his debut as a documentarian, Ice T creates a vibrant portrait of how and why rap came to be." - Sara Stewart, New York Post. "A must-see for any music fan" - USA Today

I am the blues .

It takes the audience on a musical journey through the swamps of the Louisiana Bayou, the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta and Moonshine soaked BBQs in the North Mississippi Hill Country. The film visits blues musicians rooted in the genre's heyday, many in their '80s, still living in the American deep south and touring the Chitlin' Circuit
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