Films for Black History Month

Black History Month

For Black History Month, the Ithaca College Library features a sampling of documentary, biographical, and feature films related to the history of the African Americans from slavery to beyond the civil rights movement.

Documentary Films

From Slavery through Jim Crow
Here are a few selected titles out of over one hundred documentary films from our collection. 

Africans in America: America’s journey through slavery DVD 284
The African Americans: Many rivers to cross, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. DVD 1100
Banished DVD 4695
Ghosts of Amistad : in the footsteps of the rebels DVD 3106
atters of race DVD 638
Rise and fall of Jim Crow DVD 6548
Deeds not words [videorecording] : the Buffalo Soldiers in World War II DVD 8704
A lynching in Marion DVD 3709
World War II films. [videorecording] Volume 2 : Race films at war DVD 5811 
Swingin’ uptown: Renaissance in Harlem DVD 3508
Strange fruit [an examination of the anti-lynching song] DVD 3400
Anderson platoon  DVD 6394
Order of myths [story of segregated Mardi Gras celebrations in Mobile, Alabama] DVD 6508
America in black & white [about prom night in Georgia] DVD 5693
Unchained memories: readings from the slave narratives DVD 6851
Slavery and the making of America DVD 1570

Civil Rights Movement, 1950-1970

At the river [story of the sanitation workers strike in Memphis and assassination of Martin Luther King] 
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution DVD 10910
Brick by brick: a civil rights story DVD 5540
Eyes on the prize [The PBS documentary series from 1986] DVD 2813
February One [story of the lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro, NC] DVD 1818
4 little girls [Spike Lee's HBO documentary on the Alabama church bombing] DVD 191DVD 6663
Agents of change [civil rights struggles on college campuses] DVD 10932
Neshoba: the price of freedom DVD 8559
Freedom on my mind [story of the Mississippi Voter Registration Project of the early 1960’s] DVD 8741
The intolerable burden [story of school integration in Drew, Mississippi, in 1965] DVD ​4547
Long walk to freedom: a documentary about the Civil Rights Movement DVD 9668
Mahalia: Give God the Glory  DVD 2502
The untold story of Emmett Louis Till DVD 2779
What we want, what we believe: the Black Panther Party library DVD 2977
With all deliberate speed: the legacy of Brown v. Board DVD 1050

Social Justice and Politics in This Century
Central Park five DVD 10735
Jena 6  [account of the 2006 high school incident in Louisiana DVD 4547
Race, power & American sports DVD 6346
Street fight [2002 race for Mayor of Newark] DVD 3630
Third Ward TX [story of a black neighborhood in Houston] DVD 6222
Tulia, Texas [explores discrimination in law enforcement] DVD 5531

Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King, Jr. from Montgomery to Memphis DVD 5343
King: a filmed record DVD 6225
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: a historical perspective DVD 1773

Other Biographies
August Wilson: the American dream in black and white DVD 2024
Brother outsider: the life of Bayard Rustin DVD 4585
Half past autumn : the Life and works of Gordon Parks DVD 10882
Home of the brave [story of activist, Viola Liuzzo, who was murdered in 1965 in Selma, Alabama] DVD 3760
Ida B. Wells: a Passion for justice ​[from PBS's The American Experience] DVD 4050
Journeys in black: Louis Farrakahn DVD 2162
Looking for Langston: a Meditation on Langston Hughes and the Harlem Ranaissance DVD 5168
Malcom X (a 14 minute short) DVD 2118
Malcolm X: Make it plain [from PBS's The American Experience] DVD 7007
Negroes with guns [story of militant Robert F. Williams] DVD 1844
Passin’ it on [story of Black Panther leader Dhoruba Bin Wahad] DVD 7807
Ralph Ellison: an American journey DVD 1795
Richard Wright -- Black boy DVD 1869
Paul Robeson: portraits of the artist DVD 2249
Road to Brown the untold story of the man who killed Jim Crow [Charles Hamilton Houston, Dean of Howard University Law School] DVD 8740
Soul of justice: Thelton Henderson’s American journey DVD 1819
Through a lens darkly : Black photographers and the emergence of a people DVD 10870
Unforgivable blackness: the Rise and fall of Jack Johnson DVD 1886

​Films about Films and Popular Culture
BaadAsssss cinema: a bold look at 70's blaxploitation films DVD 4620
An hour-long documentary with film clips and interviews.
Black press: soldiers without swords DVD 7363
An examination of Black newspapers and journalism from before the Civil War through the 20th century.

Blacking up [videorecording] : hip-hop's remix of race and identity DVD 7573 (2010)
The film artfully draws parallels between the white hip-hop fan and previous incarnations of white appropriation from blackface performer Al Jolson to mainstream artists like Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones and Eminem. It interweaves portraits of white hip-hop artists and fans with insightful commentary by African American cultural critics such as Amiri Baraka, Nelson George, Greg Tate, comedian Paul Mooney and hip-hop figures Chuck D., Russell Simmons, M1 of Dead Prez, and DJ Kool
Casting calls  DVD 2214
This program explores the history of film’s ethnic "bad guy."
Color adjustment DVD 6548
An analysis of African-American 
portrayals on American television, 1948-1988
A decade under the influence DVD 8410
Only a small part of this documentary on films of the seventies is related to Blaxploitation films
Hip hop immortals DVD 3107 Features rap artists, pioneers of graffiti and tastemakers in the world of fashion, television and film.
Letter to the president DVD 3691 Examines the politics of rap and hip hop
Lip DVD 6100 An examination of one of Hollywood's favorite roles for black women: the maid.
Paris is burning DVD 4011
Rap [videorecording] : looking for the perfect beat DVD 409 Examinies the history and criticisms of rap music.
Style Wars DVD 348 Document of NY street culture and subway graffiti art of the early '80s
​White scripts and Black supermen: Black masculinities in comic books DVD 9253
An examination of Black masculinity through the depiction of Black superheroes in comic books of the sixties and seventies.

Sports Related
Facing Ali DVD 5584
Heart of the game DVD 4705
Hoop dreams DVD 8993 Follows the lives of two inner-city high school basketball stars.
Jesse Owens returns to Berlin DVD 6317
The trials of Muhammad Ali DVD 10001
Undefeated DVD 9327
When we were kings DVD 1549

Contact Us

picture of John Henderson

John Henderson

Social Sciences Librarian
(607) 274-1961
picture of Jennifer Richards

Jennifer Richards

Fine Arts Librarian
(607) 274-1199

Feature Films

These are only a few of the hundreds of dramatic films in the Ithaca College Library multimedia collection that might be appropriate for Black History Month viewing:

Sixties and Seventies 1980 to 2001 This Century

Searching for other films

Try doing an advanced search and try searching (dvd video?) [any of these] as a Keyword


any of the following terms as your second Keyword (to name a few):
  • african american
  • africa
  • slavery
  • civil rights
  • segregation
  • race relations


Thanks to Kelly Merritt, Multi-Media Services Manager for her assistance in the compilation of this guide.