The annual Black History Month is a time of recognition and a celebration of the history of the African Diaspora. In the US and Canada, Black History Month has been officially recognized by the government. But also, in other countries and communities worldwide, this month is an occasion to reflect on the effects of colonialization and enslavement of millions of people that result in structural racism and exclusion until today. During this month, we also want to remember the courage and imagination of the numerous freedom fighters who have fought and continue to fight against inequality to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all.
Centuries of racial injustice have cost countless lives, including the life of George Floyd among too many others. The death of George Floyd in 2020 sparked Black Lives Matter marches across the globe, in order to protest against police brutality as well as to encourage everybody to see/to open their eyes to the structural racism around us.
Although Black History Month is about much more, we would like to honor it on our behalf by recommending seven documentaries that are dealing with systemic racism and focusing on the experience of people of color in the USA today.
I am Not Your Negro
by Raoul Peck
USA / 2017 / 89 Min
In his new film, director Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished - a radical narration about race in America, using the writer's original words. He draws upon James Baldwin's notes on the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. to explore and bring a fresh and radical perspective to the current racial narrative in America.
by Ava DuVernay
USA / 2016 / 100 Min
Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay's examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country's history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America. This piercing, Oscar-nominated film won Best Documentary at the Emmys, the BAFTAs and the NAACP Image Awards.
Explained | Racial Wealth Gap
USA / 2018 / 16 Min
In partnership with Vox Media Studios and Vox, this enlightening explainer series will take viewers deep inside a wide range of culturally relevant topics, questions, and ideas. In this episode: Cory Booker and others discuss how slavery, housing discrimination and centuries of inequality have compounded to create a racial wealth gap.
by Stanley Nelson Jr.
USA / 2010 / 114 min
The film chronicles the story behind hundreds of civil rights activists called the Freedom Riders who challenged the racial segregation of the American interstate transport and by traveling together in small interracial groups and sitting where they chose on the buses and trains to demand equal access to terminal restaurants and waiting rooms, and to bring racial segregation national attention.
3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets
by Marc Silver
USA / 2015 / 98 Min
3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets dissects the shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn in Jacksonville, Florida on Black Friday, 2012. The film examines the aftermath of this systemic tragedy, the contradictions within the American criminal justice system - particularly the implications of the "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law, and the racial prejudices that ensued. With intimate access, the film follows the trial of Dunn and its deep impact on Jordan's family and friends.
The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
by Göran Olsson
Sweden/USA / 2011 / 90 Min
Swedish journalists came to the United States to document the anti-war and Black Power movements of the late 60s and early 70s. The Black Power Mixtape combines music, original 16mm footage, and contemporary audio interviews from leading African American artists, activists, musicians, and scholars.
by Sabaah Folayan
USA / 2017 / 103 Min
Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri. Grief, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy.