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8 Civil Rights Documentaries on Netflix

These civil rights documentaries on Netflix feature historical documentaries surrounding the trials of Black and African-American people during the 1960s. Brush up on history, stimulate conversations with your children, or use in homeschooling with Netflix.  

What is the Civil Rights Movement?

The civil rights movement was a struggle for social justice that took place mainly during the 1950s and 1960s for blacks to gain equal rights under the law in the United States.

What are Documentaries?

A documentary film is a nonfictional motion picture intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record.

Civil Rights Documentaries on Netflix

Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali

From a chance meeting to a tragic fallout, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali’s extraordinary bond cracks under the weight of distrust and shifting ideals. (Watch on Netflix)

Amend: The Fight for America

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

Filmmakers re-examine the 1992 death of transgender legend Marsha P. Johnson, who was found floating in the Hudson River. Originally ruled a suicide, many in the community believe she was murdered.

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As she fights the tide of violence against trans women, activist Victoria Cruz probes the suspicious 1992 death of her friend Marsha P. Johnson.

 

Strong Island

When filmmaker Yance Ford investigates the 1992 murder of a young black man, it becomes an achingly personal journey since the victim, 24-year-old William Ford Jr., was the filmmaker’s brother.

The forces of family, grief, and racial injustice converge in this Oscar-nominated documentary exploring the murder of filmmaker Yance Ford’s brother.(Watch on Netflix)

Even though the civil rights movements were heavily influenced by activities of the 1950s and 1960s, there are still many unjust stories today.

13th

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. (Watch on Netflix)

Time: The Kalief Browder Story

The criminal justice system tragically failed 16-year-old Kalief Browder, who spent three years in Rikers Island jail awaiting trial — two of those years in solitary confinement — after being arrested for allegedly stealing a backpack.

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The case was never prosecuted, the charges were ultimately dropped, and Browder committed suicide after his release. His story and the challenges it poses to a basic understanding of American liberties are central to this six-part documentary.

It’s a comprehensive review of the case, using first-person accounts, archival footage, and cinematic recreations of key scenes from Browder’s life.

Exclusive interviews with a wide range of people connected to the story, from politicians to close friends and family members to social reformers, are also featured. | Watch on Netflix (In my opinion, this is the most troubling of the listed civil rights documentaries on Netflix.)

More Civil Rights Documentaries

These civil rights documentaries on Netflix feature historical documentaries surrounding the trials of Black and African-American people during the 1960s. 

 

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