Black History Movies That Tackle Racism


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From the country’s history of slavery to the ongoing debate about immigration, race in America has always been a complicated topic. And, like many other big issues, it’s something that comes up again and again in the movies, from inspiring stories about unforgettable leaders to wrenching documentaries about civil rights. Whatever your family’s racial background, you can use movies like the ones below to begin or continue conversations about race. Movies can help underline key messages like the importance of diversity and acceptance. They can also be opportunities to discuss how different racial groups are depicted in film.

The titles below each deal with African American characters and encounters with prejudice or racial issues, which makes them great conversation starters. But besides these titles, it’s a good idea to introduce kids to media with diverse characters and stories that don’t always place race at the center. For more great picks, check out our lists Great African American Experience Moviesand Best Mexican/Mexican American Movies, plus Asian and Asian American BooksAward-Winning African American Books, and Native American Books.

Pride, age 8+

This fact-based drama about an underdog African American swim team in the 1970s deals with racism head-on, showing how the swimmers faced — and stood up to — prejudice in their quest to succeed.
Conversation starter: Have you ever seen someone in real life being treated unfairly for no reason? What would you do if you felt discriminated against or saw a friend being held back from their goals based on their skin color?

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