African American History and Culture Viewing and Discussion Programs
The following list of films may be used in programs that support use of Picturing America posters 4-A, 7-B, 10-A, 10-B, 17-A, 17-B, 18-A, 19-B, and 20-B.
Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance. (1993) 60 min. PBS. DVD: $44.95 (includes PPR).
Explore the lives of visual artists who made the Harlem Renaissance one of the twentieth century’s richest artistic moments. Archival footage, newsreels, and photographs recall the influential force of exhibitions, Harlem’s vibrancy in the Roaring Twenties, and significant personalities such as William E. Harmon, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Alain Locke. Available through PBS Educational Media.
Barack Obama: People’s President. (2009) 90 min. VideoVision Entertainment. DVD: $24.95.
The film documents the campaign techniques used to help elect the first black President of the United States. Lesson plan/guidebook. Available through Choices, Inc.
Dare Not Walk Alone. (2007) 79min. Indican. DVD: $24.99.
The film documents the little known demonstrations held in St. Augustine, Florida, organized by Dr. Robert B. Hayling and Dr. Martin Luther King that led directly to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed racial segregation in motels and restaurants as well as also job discrimination for minorities and women. Available through Amazon.com.
Ethnic Notions. (1987) 56min. Independent. DVD: $49.95.
Marlon Riggs’ Emmy-winning seminal documentary that takes viewers on a disturbing voyage through American history, tracing for the first time the deep-rooted stereotypes that have fueled anti-black prejudice. Through these images we can begin to understand the evolution of racial consciousness in America. Available from California Newsreel.
Freedom Bags. (1991) 32 min. Independent. DVD: $295.
Documents the story of African-American women who migrated from the rural south during the first three decades of the twentieth century. Hoping to escape from the racism and poverty of the post-Civil War South, they boarded segregated trains for an uncertain future up North. Having had limited education, most could find jobs only as housekeepers. Available through Filmakers Library.
Goin’ to Chicago. (1994) 71min. George King and Associates. DVD: $49.95.
Chronicles one of the most momentous yet least heralded sagas of American history—the great migration of African Americans from the rural South to the cities of the North and West after World War II. Four million black people created a dynamic urban culture outside the South, changing America forever. Facilitator’s guide. Available from California Newsreel.
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow. (2002) four episodes, 56min ea. Quest Productions, VideoLine Productions, and Thirteen/WNET New York. DVD: $99.
The first comprehensive look at race relations in America between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. Resources. Available from California Newsreel.
Unchained Memories. (2002) 75.min. HBO Films. DVD: $17.99.
When the Civil War ended in 1865, more than four million slaves were set free. More than 70 years later, the memories of some 2,000 slave-era survivors were transcribed and preserved by the Library of Congress. These first-person anecdotes, ranging from the brutal to the bittersweet, have been brought to vivid life in this unique HBO documentary special featuring the on-camera voices of more than a dozen top African-American actors. Resources. Available from HBO.
Whispers of Angels: A Story of the Underground Railroad. (2004) 60 min. Janson Media. DVD: $24.95.
This incredible movie provides excellent historical information about the underground railroad, the history of slavery, and how two brave men bucked the system to ensure that slaves could find their way to freedom and that people would know their stories. Resources. Available from Amazon.com.
With All Deliberate Speed: The Legacy of Brown v. Board. (2004) 60 min. Serviam Media, Inc. DVD: $39.95.
This program examines the unique legal strategies employed by the NAACP and the Legal Defense Fund, Inc., to combat school segregation in the courts, uncover the split public sentiment that fueled the social structure of the Jim Crow era, address the successes and failures in the implementation of desegregation, and, most importantly, analyze the role of diversity and multicultural education in America today. Resources. Available through Teleduction.