So, you want to learn more about racial injustice in the United States, but you aren't sure where to start. While there are many different ways to learn more about racism, and how it intersects in every aspect of society,
documentaries about race in the United States can serve as a particularly effective window into the topic. Watching real-life stories being told on-screen can be a powerful experience, and learning about the past and present of racism in the U.S. can be a stepping stone toward a better future.
To help guide positive social change, many organizations are providing lists of resources for those who want to further their education via documentaries, movies, books, podcasts, and more. A few examples of these resource compilations can be found below:
'Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992'
What it's about: The experiences of 12 Black and Latinx whistleblower N.Y.P.D. cops as they fought illegal arrest quotas that pressured them to arrest urban youths How to watch: Hulu, Crime + Punishment website
'The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975'
What it's about: The evolution, community, people, and ideas of the Black Power movement, featuring archival footage of activists Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale and poet Abiodun Oyewole How to watch: Nowness
'Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement' (Series)
What it's about: The Black Lives Matter movement, through the accounts of local activists, scholars, journalists, and celebrities How to watch: Amazon Prime Video
'The Death & Life Of Marsha P. Johnson'
'Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story' (Series)
What it's about: The 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin, which became a catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement How to watch: Paramount Network
'Say Her Name: The Life & Death Of Sandra Bland'
'America Beyond The Color Line'
What it's about: In 2003, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates traveled to the East Coast, the deep South, inner-city Chicago, and Hollywood to interview influential Black people on their views on the status of Black Americans. How to watch: DVD available for purchase
'The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross' (Series)
What it's about: Emmy Award-winning 2013 series that explores Black identity and what it means to be an African American in the U.S. today, as Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates investigates religion, culture, and evolution of African Americans over the past 500 years and across two continents How to watch: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube
'Slavery By Another Name'
'Eyes On The Prize' (Series)
'Soundtrack For A Revolution'
What it's about: The history and meaning behind the freedom songs of the American Civil Rights movement, with modern performances from John Legend, Joss Stone, Wyclef Jean, and The Roots How to watch: Amazon Prime Video
'The Black List: Volume One'
What it's about: A series of interviews of twenty-three prominent African Americans of various professions and backgrounds offer their insights on Black life in the United States, redefining the term "blacklist" in the process How to watch: Available on DVD
'Breaking The Huddle: The Integration of College Football'
What it's about: Civil rights through the lens of football; the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on football programs and the historic 1970 game in which the all-white University of Alabama team lost to the fully integrated University of Southern California team How to watch: Available in clips on YouTube What it's about: A filmmaker's campaign to end Black History Month, as a gambit to open conversation about whether relegating Black history to the shortest month of the year — and separating it from American history as a whole — properly recognizes the roles of Black people in American history How to watch: Available in clips on YouTube
'L.A.P.D. Blues' (Series)
What it's about: The "Rampart Scandal," which involved widespread police corruption in the Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (CRASH) anti-gang unit of the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Division in the late 1990s, ultimately questioning how to bring order to a police force How to watch: PBS
No single documentary on this list is going to teach you everything you need to know about racism in the United States, but it's a start. Viewers can watch these films and series to supplement their education about the struggles of
Black people, and subsequently effect change.