Black History Month celebrates the contributions of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history. The commemorative month had its origins in 1915 when historian and author Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. This organization is now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Dr. Woodson initiated the first Negro History Week in February 1926. He selected the week in February that included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two key figures in the history of African Americans.
(There are many excellent films available for this month. These are just a few.)
I have a dream speech, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Movement 1954-1985 (Blackside, 1986 and 1990) Eyes on the Prize tells the definitive story of the civil rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life, and embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt today. Winner of numerous Emmy Awards, a George Foster Peabody Award, an International Documentary Award, and a Television Critics Association Award, Eyes on the Prize is the most critically acclaimed documentary on civil rights in America.
The Promised Land (BBC, 1995) Based on Nicholas Lemann's international bestseller, this 5 part series follows the 1940-1960 migration of more than five million African Americans from the fields and farms of the Deep South for a new life in the big cities of the North, principally Chicago. Those brave men and women recount their lifetime experiences against a soundtrack of jazz and blues.
The Loving Story (Nancy Bruiski, Icarus Films, 2012) Oscar-shortlist selection The Loving Story is the definitive account of Loving v. Virginia -- the landmark 1967 Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage.
Richard Wright -- Black Boy (Madison Lacy, California Newsreel, 1994) Richard Wright - Black Boy is an Emmy Award winning film on the life, work and legacy of Richard Wright. Born outside Natchez, Mississippi in 1908, Wright overcame a childhood of poverty and oppression to become one of America's most influential writers. His first major works, Native Son and Black Boy, were runaway best sellers which are still mainstays of high school and college literature and composition classes. According to critic Irving Howe, "The day Native Son appeared American culture was changed forever."
Julian Bond: Reflections From the Frontline of the Civil Rights Movement (Eduardo Montes-Bradley, Filmakers Library, 2012) A leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Julian Bond was among the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a leader of the 1963 March on Washington, and a Georgia legislator for twenty years. Now in his seventies, Bond recalls the experience of growing up in the segregated south, where his parents' belief in hard work and education lifted the family out of what he describes as an apartheid system. An erudite, well-spoken man, audiences visit his classroom at the University of Virginia where he shares with a new generation the turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement.
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