There are so many educational slavery movies on Netflix. They feature nostalgic historical documentaries surrounding the trials of Black and African-American people during slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries. Don’t miss 10 more of the best Slavery movies, too.
What is slavery (or involuntary servitude)?
Slavery is, in the strictest sense of the term, any system in which principles of property law are applied to people, allowing individuals to own, buy and sell other individuals, as a de jure form of property. (Source)
Existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries after it gained independence and before the end of the American Civil War.
Throughout history, slaves were clothed in a distinctive fashion, particularly with respect to footwear, or rather the lack thereof. This was due to economic reasons, as well as a distinguishing feature, especially in South Africa and South America. (Source)
“The use of forced labor and slavery in Nazi Germany and throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II took place on an unprecedented scale.” (Source)
All the titles listed are currently on Netflix, but that is subject to change without notice.
NETFLIX SLAVERY MOVIES
Whether it’s Black history month or you just want to learn more about this important part of history, check out one of these riveting movies.
Descendants of the survivors from the Clotilda celebrate their heritage and take command of their legacy, as the discovery of the remains of the last-known slave ship to arrive in the United States offers them a tangible link to their ancestors. | Stream on Netflix
Bigger Than Africa
Historians and experts analyze the Trans-Atlantic slave trade route from West Africa and how it affected the countries of the United States, Brazil and the Caribbean, as well as the culture of the Yoruba people. | Stream on Netflix
A model (Oyafunmike Ogunlano) on a photo shoot in Ghana encounters an old mystic (Kofi Ghanaba) who transports her into the past, where she becomes a slave. | Stream on Netflix
In this thought-provoking Netflix slavery documentary about the 13th amendment, scholars, activists, and politicians analyze the criminalization of Black people through mass incarceration and the U.S. prison boom.
“As the documentary charts the rising number of prisoners in the U.S. (from 357,292 in 1970 to 2,306,200 in 2014), DuVernay, one of the most prominent black filmmakers, examines the “law and order” rhetoric popularized by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan in the late 1960s, the misplaced fear used to justify violence against Black Panther party Black Power activists (including Chicago leader Fred Hampton, who was killed by police in 1969) and the racial disparities in drug sentences during the crack epidemic.” (Source)
The movie won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics by hip hop artist Common, Robert Glasper, and Karriem Riggins song “Letter to the Free.” This was one of the best shows to watch on the topic. (Watch on Netflix)
Always a Witch
A young 17th-century witch travels to the future in order to save the man she loves, but she must first adjust to modern-day Cartagena and defeat a wicked rival. (Watch in Netflix)
High on the Hog
High on the Hog: The Evolution of African-American Cuisine America is a four-part Netflix docuseries that explores and celebrates black contributions to world food and culture.
Through years of captivity and the fight for equal civil rights, the show uncovers how much of what we now consider American cuisine was influenced by African American culture.
From mac and cheese to Virginia ham; Jefferson’s and Washington’s renowned enslaved chefs James Hemings and Hercules left the nation hungry for more.
Barbecued brisket meets Senegalese lamb and a Juneteenth feast as Stephen heads to Texas to ride with Black cowboys and take in Jerelle Guy’s cakes. (Watch on Netflix),
13th: A Conversation with Oprah Winfrey & Ava DuVernay
Oprah Winfrey sits down with Los Angeles-born director Ava DuVernay to discuss her Oscar-nominated film, historical cycles of oppression and the broken prison system, and its treatment of young Black men.
DuVernay won the directing award in the U.S. dramatic competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere, becoming the first black woman to win the award. (Watch on Netflix)
To continue learning, check out the Black History Research Unit.
MORE MOVIES ABOUT BLACK HISTORY AND THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN EXPERIENCE ON NETFLIX:
- Best Slavery Movies
- 5 Slavery Documentaries for Kids
- 15 Kids’ Black History Movies on Netflix
- 20 Black History Movies on Netflix (including a comedy special by Trevor Noah)
- 10 Segregation Movies on Netflix
PLACES YOU CAN VISIT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SLAVERY AND BLACK HISTORY
- Booker T. Washington National Monument (Washington‘s birthplace)
- Cliveden, the 18th-century home of the Chew family, immerses visitors in this part of America’s past in the Philadelphia area of Germantown, Pennsylvania.
- Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Civil Rights Trail which includes 100 locations across 14 states
- Freedom Park in Williamsburg, VA, which preserves one of the first free black settlements in America
BOOKS ABOUT SLAVERY AND BLACK HISTORY
- Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington
- Celia, A Slave by Melton A Mclaurin
- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by David W. Blight
- The Slave Ship: A Human History by Marcus Rediker
- American Slavery, American Freedom by Edmund S. Morgan
- Empire of Cotton: A Global History by Sven Beckert
- Africa: A Biography of the Continent by John Reader
- Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation by Eric Foner
- The Price for Their Pound of Flesh by Daina Ramey Berry
- My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass
- Black Reconstruction in America by W. E. B. Du Bois
Have you watched any of these movies about slavery on Netflix?
Get a preview of the movies in this list with my web story.
I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam. I received a complimentary subscription and device. All opinions and selections are my own.
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Thursday 19th of January 2023
Dear Maxanne, As a reader, I'm curious as to what makes a slave movie "great"? For anyone to even take the time to compose a list is beyond my level of comprehension but for the sake of transparency, it would be nice to know. You even reminded everyone to don’t miss 10 more of the BEST Slavery movies, too. What makes one slave film better than another? Far too often we are misguided by the wavery palms of the sleight of hand that disperses the smoke and positions the mirror. The onslaught of slavery films seems to be tactical, strategic, programming and demoralizing to the human need to feel equal. There is not 1 movie about slavery that's 100% true. It becomes rhetoric for the agenda of reminding black people of pain, suffering, displacement, anger, and so many other emotions that are purposely induced from these films. We exist in a world dictated by those in power. Manipulated in a manner that's compartmentalized by status. Inheritance of stolen wealth, land, and knowledge, and the need to perpetuate the HISTORICAL NARRATIVE constantly remind a nation of its history of violence timelined to a script performed for profitable purposes. Or to one day be seen as GREAT enough to be added to Maxanne's critical category of GREAT SLAVE FILMS.
To be aware yet disregard is a signature, cosigning one's ignorance that can't be forged. - Shadow Walker
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