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5 Powerful Documentaries to Uplift and Educate Your Mind

America is literally on fire and Black people are tired of the continued oppression, racism, and murders that we have experienced for hundreds of years. With the recent death of George Floyd, protests have sprung up in all 50 states in America as well as many countries around the world. Simply put...WE ARE TIRED! When protesting isn't enough, it's best to do your research and understand why we are fighting and why the system must change. We have compiled a list of powerful documentaries that can help in your understanding of why this is so important.  Warning, you will be angered. You will be hurt. You will want change.

Black American After MLK: And Still I Rise

Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. hosts a personal journey through the past 50 years of black history in the United States, citing both the progress we have made and obstacles yet to be overcome.  The series features words from Jesse Jackson, Nas, Oprah Winfrey, and more. The series provides interviews as well as archival footage that document the struggle for black equality and America's changing racial landscape, from the civil rights era through the present day. Eric Holder, Shonda Rhimes, and DeRay Mckesson also offer insight into the state of black America and the nation as a whole. You can find this on Amazon Prime. 

I am Not Your Negro

"To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time,” James Baldwin said in 1961. “So that the first problem is how to control that rage so that it won’t destroy you.” Baldwin was a homosexual author and activist, who's voice spoke to that of the American civil rights movement. This powerful, Oscar-nominated documentary brings Baldwin’s touching words to life through the voice of Samuel L. Jackson. The narration is set against an arresting montage of archival footage, interspersed with film clips and advertising campaigns of the time including the 2014 Ferguson riots, which highlights why the Black Lives Matter movement is so crucial. You can find this on Netflix.


The film takes its name from the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery in 1865, arguing that another form of slavery has been perpetuated through the demonization and systematic disenfranchisement of the minority poor ever since. The documentary explores the intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States, highlighting the fact that from the early 1970s to the present, the rate of incarceration and the number of people in US prisons has risen dramatically, while during the same time the rate of crime has continued to decline.  You can find this on Netflix

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 unearths a trove of rare footage, shot by a group of Swedish journalists documenting the Black Power Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Assembled by Göran Olsson, it bravely captures the complex racial history of the era, with commentary from modern voices including Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, and Harry Belafonte, as well as important archival recordings of activists like Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, and Bobby Seale. It depicts a story of valiance, defiance, hope, and pride, as well as exposing the horrific brutality, frustration, and defeat faced during the decade. A clip taken from the documentary of Angela Davis has been much-shared across social media, in which she states the importance of explosive, non-peaceful protest. You can find this on Netflix

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

Henry Louis Gates and PBS brings us this six-hour series that explores the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed forging their own history, culture, and society against unimaginable odds. You can find it on Amazon Prime.


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