10 Documentaries to Watch During Black History Month

10 Documentaries to Watch During Black History Month

10 Documentaries to Watch During Black History Month

Celebrate and self-educate with these documentaries on Black creatives and activists. 

Celebrate and self-educate with these documentaries on Black creatives and activists. 

Text: Siena Ballotta Garman

From the undaunted activism of John Lewis to the protest songs of Nina Simone, these documentaries highlight Black leaders and revolutionary figures throughout history. Celebrate Black History Month by streaming their stories.

1. John Lewis: Good Trouble 

United States Representative John Lewis passed away in 2020 after a lifetime of fighting for racial justice – in his words, seeking "good trouble." This documentary honors his lasting legacy.

2. The Black Power Mixtape 

This film features previously unseen footage of the Black Power and antiwar movements, discovered after decades in a cellar beneath the Swedish National Broadcasting Company.

3. What Happened, Miss Simone? 

Nina Simone was an undeniable artistic visionary. Her music and activism are deeply intertwined, and both receive fresh consideration in this documentary on the singer's life.

4. The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson 

Black trans activist Marsha P. Johnson is known for her role in NYC gay rights advocacy, including the 1969 Stonewall uprising. Her death in 1992 was ruled a suicide, but this documentary gives her case another look, seeking justice for a powerfully beloved figure.

5. I Am Not Your Negro

Based on an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin, this 2016 documentary explores the words and legacy of a singularly talented writer.

6. Becoming 

"Becoming" follows former First Lady Michelle Obama as she tours her bestselling book of the same name.

7. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution 

This PBS documentary explores the history of the Black Panther party and the development of the Black Power movement.

8. Olympic Pride, Olympic Prejudice

18 Black athletes participated in the 1936 Olympic games, which took place in Germany under Hitler. This documentary tells the story of how these athletes used the international platform provided by the Olympics to send a message against white supremacy.

9. The Black Godfather 

Music executive Clarence Avant had tremendous cultural influence, and "The Black Godfather" tells his story from the perspectives of his friends and collaborators.

10. Your Attention Please

Finally, a documentary series on Hulu chronicles the careers of inspiring Black creatives who are looking toward and shaping the future.

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