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Ten Best Movies To Celebrate Black History Month

Posted by on Feb. 22, 2013 at 8:46 PM
  • 17 Replies


Selecting just ten best movies about black history is quite a challenge, but this is a very personal list. I am certainly not attempting to proclaim that this is “the” list. I would, however, be very interested to see what other ideas for great movies you have.

Meanwhile, you will notice that “Lincoln” is not mentioned here. As Joel Boyce pointed out in his excellent blog, many blacks whom Lincoln would have known are missing from the film, and especially notable for his absence is Frederick Douglass.

My faves:

1.  The Color Purple (1985) was directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker. Known especially for the roles played by Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, it shows an African-American woman’s struggle to overcome poverty, adversity and a marriage to a brutal husband over a period of over forty years.

2. To Sir, With Love (1967) stars Sidney Poitier as the teacher who brilliantly handles social and racial issues in a school in the East End of London. James Clavell both directed and wrote the film’s screenplay, based on the semi-autobiographical novel by E. R. Braithwaite. As a bonus, the film’s title song, performed by Lulu, reached number one on the U.S. pop charts. This is a must-see for teachers.

3. Malcolm X (1992) is based on “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Alex Haley and tells the story of this compelling leader’s journey to civil right activism through religious conversion.  It’s a brilliant film, with masterful acting by Denzel Washington and direction by Spike Lee; however, I have mixed feelings because my would-be actor son was cast in the movie, but ended up on the cutting room floor!

4. How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998) is a wonderful chick flick starring Angela Bassett as Stella Payne, a very successful 40-year-old stockbroker in California, who is persuaded by her New York friend Delilah Abraham to take a well-deserved vacation to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Once there, she meets a gorgeous man, just about 20 years younger than her, and the story goes from there.

5. Akeelah and the Bee (2006) features Keke Palmer as Akeelah Anderson, a young black girl from South Los Angeles, who struggles to take part in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. This is not an amazing movie, but importantly, it examines issues of education in low socioeconomic African-American communities. It is directed by Doug Atchison and also stars Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne.

6. Do the Right Thing (1989), directed by Spike Lee is both brilliant and highly controversial. That’s because it depicts temperatures rising, along with tensions between neighbors, on the hottest day of the year in Brooklyn. Lee essentially uses one street to explore the enormous issue of race relations and stereotypes.

7. Sounder (1972) had us all in tears when I showed this to my fifth grade class. Sounder is the name of the dog owned by a young boy who is growing up and learning to read while his father is in prison. We are taken into the world of an extremely poor family of black sharecroppers living in Louisiana during the Depression.

8.  In The Heat of The Night (1967) is a mystery story. Starring Sidney Poitier as a homicide detective from Philadelphia who becomes involved in a murder investigation in a small town in Mississippi, the movie does a fantastic job of portraying racism and prejudice. So good, in fact, that it won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor.

9. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) is another choice that reveals my bias as a former English teacher, but this is one of the best films I know that explores justice, innocence and race relations. The movie is based on the award winning novel by Harper Lee, and portrays the lives of a white family in Alabama as Atticus Finch, the father, played by Gregory Peck, represents a wrongly accused black man in court.

10. Roots (1977) was a winner for Alex Haley, who chronicles the story of his own family across many generations. He goes back to Kunta Kinte, an 18th century African who is captured and sold into slavery in the U.S., and moves forward following the lives of his descendants, until he arrives at himself.

What would you add to (or take away from) this list?


http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14724-ten-best-movies-to-celebrate-black-history-month

by on Feb. 22, 2013 at 8:46 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Goodwoman614
by Satan on Feb. 22, 2013 at 8:46 PM

My personal fave fom this list is To Kill a Mockingbird.

MeAndTommyLee
by Platinum Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 9:39 PM

My favorite is To Sir, with Love.  Other  favorites  of mine that is not listed here are , A  Raisin in the Sun, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.  I watched Roots back in the 70's and while it was good, it was too violent for me. 

Debmomto2girls
by Platinum Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 10:35 PM
My favorites from that list are the Color Purple, To Kill a Mickingbird, Roots and Do the Right Thing,
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Euphoric
by Bazinga! on Feb. 22, 2013 at 10:38 PM
3 moms liked this

 Another good one is Remember the Titans.

Goodwoman614
by Satan on Feb. 22, 2013 at 10:46 PM



Quoting Euphoric:

 Another good one is Remember the Titans.


Hmm didn't see this one...

Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Feb. 22, 2013 at 10:49 PM
Depending on my mood...

My top 3 are:
The Color Purple
Remember the Titans
To Kill a Mockingbird
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.Bubbles.
by Silver Member on Feb. 22, 2013 at 11:12 PM
I liked To Kill A Mockingbird.
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turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Feb. 23, 2013 at 3:09 AM

 I like the list...but missing is one of my all time favourite movies...Guess who's coming to dinner.  I love love loved Sidney Poitier

FrogSalad
by Sooze on Feb. 23, 2013 at 3:36 AM

2. To Sir, With Love (1967) stars Sidney Poitier as the teacher who brilliantly handles social and racial issues in a school in the East End of London. James Clavell both directed and wrote the film’s screenplay, based on the semi-autobiographical novel by E. R. Braithwaite. As a bonus, the film’s title song, performed by Lulu, reached number one on the U.S. pop charts. This is a must-see for teachers.


I like this movie, but I have to take issue with the comment about the song.  It's the 2nd most annoying song ever to hit the pop charts.  Topped only by You're So Vain.  To Sir With Love (the song) is second only because it's rarely played on the radio and has less opportunity to assault the listener's ears.


Atheist Mama?  Join us!

How paramount the future is to the present when one is surrounded by children.  Charles Darwin

loriec
by Bronze Member on Feb. 23, 2013 at 3:48 AM
1 mom liked this

also ;


Amistad

A slave by anyother name

School Daze 

The spook who sat by the door

4 little girls

Mississippi burning

Glory

The Medgar Evans story

Redtails

Miracle at St Anna

The Tuskegee Airmen

The Josephine Baker story

Sparkle

Imitation of life

Cooley High

Men of Honor

Do the Right thing

Bamboozled 

The Great White Hope

Rosa Parks story

 





I am going to end this short list for now,some of these movies are about actual history and others explore the culture. It's important to know what lesson to get from the movies. Not watch and call it black history because of a black cast. I also want to say the month is almost over,it's been a short month and there are other holidays in this month. Right now people I observe that not only does Black history go by so fast and not really acknowledged. People are getting over Valentines day, preparing for St Patricks &  Easter. I have witnessed some schools using the month to just talk about Martin Luther King. It's fine but he has a holiday kids get the same material,they will learn about Rosa Parks and a few others but there are so many African-Americans to get educated about. I have children different grade levels, so this is where I gather my opinion.  

Try not just watching movies that made it to the big screen but documentaries are really informative. The local libraries can be a wealth of resources. If they don't have something ask them to find it at another library or order it.

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