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History | Books and Movies That Celebrate Black History

It's February and you know what that means... NO, not Valentine's Day, It's Black History Month. Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by Black Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. So, in celebration of Black stories and history I am sharing some of my favorite books and movies that have embraced the richness Black history.


Favorite movies about Black History

    • Harriett: The story of Harriett Tubman and how she led to liberate hundreds of slaves through the Underground Railroad, the story of a heroic abolitionist. 
    • Roots: A dramatization of author Alex Hayley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendants' liberation.
    • Selma: Selma tells the incredible story of how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the epic march from Selma to Montgomery to secure equal voting rights in an event that forever altered history.
    • 12 Years a Slave: biographical period-drama film and an adaptation of the 1853 slave memoir Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free African-American man who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., by two conmen in 1841 and sold into slavery.
    • Ma Rainy's Black Bottom:Takes place at a Chicago music studio in 1927 when fiery, fearless blues singer Ma Rainey joins her band for a turbulent recording session.
    • The Color Purple: An epic tale spanning forty years in the life of Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), an African-American woman living in the South who survives incredible abuse and bigotry.


    • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: About an interracial marriage where a couple's attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African-American fiancé.
    • Hidden Figures: Three brilliant African-American women at NASA Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world.

Favorite Books about Black History

    • Caste: The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author ofThe Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.
    • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration is a historical study of the Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.
    • Self Made: Is the first full-scale biography of “one of the great success stories of American history” Madam C.J. Walker—the legendary African American entrepreneur and philanthropist—by her great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles.
    • Black Fortunes: The astonishing untold history of America's first black millionaires; former slaves who endured incredible challenges to amass and maintain their wealth for a century.
    • Becoming by Michelle Obama: the memoir of former United States first lady Michelle Obama, published in 2018. Described by the author as a deeply personal experience, the book talks about her roots and how she found her voice, as well as her time in the White House, her public health campaign, and her role as a mother.
    • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings:1969 autobiography describing the early years of American writer and poet Maya Angelou. The first in a seven-volume series, it is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma.


Favorite Books by Black Authors
    • The House of Dies Drear:The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton is a children's mystery novel, with sinister goings-on in a reputedly haunted house.
    • The Hate You Give: The Hate U Give is a 2017 young adult novel by Angie Thomas. It is Thomas's debut novel, expanded from a short story she wrote in college in reaction to the police shooting of Oscar Grant.
    • The Color Purple: The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. 
    • Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela:Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiography written by South African President Nelson Mandela, and first published in 1994 by Little Brown & Co. The book profiles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison.


    • Cry Freedom: Donald Woods is chief editor at the liberal newspaper `Daily Dispatch' in South Africa. He has written several editorials critical of the views of Steve Biko, but after having met him, he changes his views and attracts attention from the security police. When Steve Biko dies in police custody, he writes a book about Biko. The only way to get it published is for Woods himself to illegally escape the country.

Books and Movies for Kids about Race

    • Cinderella: My favorite version of the classic fairytale starring Brandy and Whitney Houston. This movie made a huge impression on me a s child and I'm thrilled that my boys love it just as much. No available on Disney+!!!
    • The Color of Friendship: In 1977, two girls from opposite sides of the world come together and change each other's lives. Young, white Mahree Bok (Lindsey Haun) lives in apartheid South Africa with her wealthy family. Piper Dellums (Shadia Simmons), the daughter of a black U.S. congressman in Washington, D.C., prepares to welcome Mahree to the U.S. for a semester abroad. Mahree is surprised to find her host family is black, and Piper is stunned that Mahree is white. Each will have to question the assumptions she had.
    • Perfect Harmony: a 1991 film produced by Disney that is set during the Civil Rights Movement. The story highlights the racial tensions of African Americans and whites within a South Carolina town and its private school.
    • The Princess and the Frog: a 2009 American animated musical fantasy romantic comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 49th Disney animated feature film, the film is loosely based on the novel TheFrog Princess by E. D. and features Disney's first Black Princess.
    • The Wiz: An extravagant re-imagining of "The Wizard Of Oz" with pop superstars Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.


    • Ada Twist Scientist:Ada Twist is a young African American girl who is curious, adventurous, and loves to do various experiments. When she doesn’t know something, she tries her hardest to find the answer. This book is a wonderful inspiration for students, and it shows them that it is good to have questions and be curious.
    • Little People, Big Dreams: The best-selling biography series for kids by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara.
    • 42: a 2013 American biographical sports film about baseball player Jackie Robinson, the first black athlete to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) during the modern era.



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