Black History Month is a time delve in our history and refresh our knowledge and consciousness of our community. There are many diverse bodies of work, whether through art, music, literature or film, that help showcase the fullness of our community through various lenses. They help remind us of where we've been to inspire a clear path forward.
Below, we've assembled 8 historical documentary films centering on Black folks that we think should be added to everyone's repertoire.
Historian and critic Elvis Mitchell chronicles a timeline of Black cinema with an emphasis on the 1970s as a means to delineate influences on Black film in the modern day.
Through the vantage point of literary icon James Baldwin, the audience is able to gain insight into not only his life but also the shared experiences of Black Americans during his life time on their quest for equality.
Soul food is integral to the understanding and construction of Black culture. This docuseries traces the origins of the meals that we have come to love today .
In this film, Swedish journalists and filmmakers explore footage of prominent Black activists who were integral to the Black Power Movement such as Angela Davis, Huey P. Newton and Stokely Carmichael. They also try to expose the governmental forces that were hellbent on the eradication and demise of these important Black figures.
Directed by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Summer of Soul informs viewers about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival and its reverberating impact on the Black community over six weeks' time.
Deemed one of the most necessary historical films, 13th shed light on the prison industrial complex and the way it oppresses Black bodies. Even if you do not have a Netflix account, the film is available in full on YouTube.
David Driskell was one of the most preeminent artistic curators and artists in Black culture. Black Art: In the Absence of Light details his contributions to the Black artistic landscape while providing a platform of appreciation for several Black visual artists who also continue to influence this creative realm.
A classic viewing that inspired Eyes on the Prize: Hallowed Ground, this docuseries extensively dove into the challenges and lived experiences of those present during the civil rights movement.