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20 Must Watch Black History Movies

During Black History Month or any time of year, there are some great black history movies to watch. These are in addition to so many great Black history movies on Netflix,

I was pleasantly surprised to find dozens of black history month movies which celebrate, highlight, and explore stories surrounding Black History that are well-known and black history documentaries you may have never heard of.

Learn about Women in Black History, too!


Roots: The Complete Miniseries
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • LeVar Burton, Cicely Tyson, Edward Asner (Actors)

Roots (Not Rated)

Chronicles several generations in the lives of a slave family. Begins with a West African youth captured by slave raiders and shipped to America in the 1700s. The family’s saga is depicted up until the Civil War when Kunte Kinte’s grandson gained emancipation. (Recommended for age 14+)

Race to Freedom: The Underground Railroad
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Courtney B. Vance, Alfre Woodard (Actors)

Race to Freedom: The Underground Railroad (unrated)

The story of heroic fugitives, bold conductors, and a candle in the window. (adult situations)

Selma (Blu-ray + DVD)
  • David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Jim France (Actors)
  • Ava DuVernay (Director)

Selma (PG-13)

A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

Malcolm X (Two-Disc Special Edition)
  • Malcolm X (Two-Disc Special Edition) - DVD Brand New
  • Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Al Freeman Jr. (Actors)

Malcolm X  (PG-13)

It follows the life and times of Malcolm Little through his transformation to Malcolm X and his departure from the Nation of Islam.

Hidden Figures
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner (Actors)

Hidden Figures (PG)

The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space.

RELATED:  Black History Month Writing Prompts

To continue this unit study, check out the Hidden Figures Movie Guide.

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The Tuskegee Airmen (PG-13)

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.

The Birth Of a Nation
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Mark Boone Jr. (Actors)

Birth of a Nation (R)

Set against the antebellum South, it follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue slaves.

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown (Actors)

Marshall (PG-13)

Based on a true story, MARSHALL follows future Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, as he defends a black man from sexual assault charges against his white employer.

The Life of George Washington Carver Man of Science (Not Rated)

A slave-born man who helped shape 20th century America with his passion for God’s creation.

Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance (Not Rated)

Explore the lives of visual artists who made the Harlem Renaissance one of the 20th century’s richest artistic moments.

The Wereth Eleven
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Corey Reynolds, Ken Arnold (Actors)

African Americans in WWII (Not Rated)

Details the contributions of African American Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen in World War II. Includes great interviews with African American veterans, who recount their WWII experiences and what it was like to serve in a segregated armed forces.

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, T.R. Knight (Actors)

42 (PG-13)

In 1946, Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking MLB’s infamous color line and forever changing history.

RELATED:  The Best MLK Movies for Kids

To continue this unit study, check out the 42: The Jackie Robinson Story Movie Study.

King: Man of Peace in a Time of War
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson (Actors)


A rare TV interview with Martin Luther King Jr., is the centerpiece of this tribute. Exclusive interviews with Jesse Jackson and Colin Powell provide fresh insight into the life and personality of the inspirational civil rights leader.

The Rosa Parks Story
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Angela Bassett, Peter Francis James, Tonea Stewart (Actors)

The Rosa Parks Story (Not Rated)

Many people believe Rosa Parks’ simple refusal to move to the back of a Montgomery, Alabama bus was her contribution to the Civil Rights Movement, but this engrossing look at her life tells the whole story.

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Joel Edgerton, Marton Csokas, Ruth Negga (Actors)

Loving (PG-13)

Based on the landmark Supreme Court case, an interracial couple fights the law that they cannot be recognized as married in the state of Virginia.

I Am Barack: This Is My Story
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Barack Obama (Actor)

Obama (Age 7+)

The race to decide the Democratic candidate for the 2008 elections was, by anyone’s standards, a stirring moment in history.

The Civil War 25th Anniversary Edition - Restored for 2015
  • David McCullough, Sam Waterston, Jason Robards (Actors)
  • Ken Burns (Director)

The Civil War (Not Rated)

Explores the war’s military, social, and political facets through some 16,000 contemporary photographs and paintings, and excerpts from the letters and journals of persons famous and obscure.

Fannie Lou Hamer: Voting Rights Activist & Civil Rights Leader (Not Rated)

Fannie Lou Hamer was the granddaughter of a slave and the youngest of 20 children. she will be remembered for winning the right to vote for black Americans and exposing America’s poverty by giving a voice to those in need.

RELATED:  15 African Americans Who Changed History

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The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (PG-13)

Explores the murder of an innocent African-American teenager. Emmett’s brutal murder – and his family’s brave actions in the horrifying aftermath – served as a major impetus for America’s civil rights movement and led to Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to make decisions that changed the course of history.

Once Upon a Time...When We Were Colored [DVD]
  • Al Freeman Jr., Phylicia Rashad, Leon (Actors)
  • Tim Reid (Director) - Clifton L. Taulbert (Writer)

Once Upon a Time …When We Were Colored (PG)

It’s 1946 in Mississippi, and young Cliff, living under the care of great-grandfather Poppa and great-grandmother Ma Pearl, is starting to notice the world around him. But it isn’t a pretty one for blacks in the South, and over the span of 16 years, Cliff gets introduced to segregation and sadness. But hope finally arises when his close-knit community bands together to fight for civil rights in a nonviolent way.

Harriet Tubman Movie

Just released on November 1, 2019, Harriet. Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, HARRIET tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes.

To continue learning, check out the Harriet Movie Study.


What did you think of this list of movies for Black history month?


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