10+ Documentaries People Can Watch To Learn About Black History

We are in the middle of a revolution, whether people try to ignore it or not. The death of George Floyd has the entire world screaming aloud in one unified voice: Black Lives Matter.

Now is the time for education and reflection. Do your part and check out these 10+ documentaries to help you to learn about the movement and Black history as a whole.

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*Crime + Punishment.*


This thought-provoking film focuses on the corruption running rampant through the NYPD.

It tells the story of a group of Latino and Black officers who, after being forced to meet racially-based ticket quotas, brought a class-action lawsuit against the entire department.

*The Black Power Mixtape.*

IFC Films

The Black Power Mixtape is a collection of video footage shot between the years 1967 and 1975.

It highlights the noticeable shift from the non-violent protests of the early 1960s, toward a more tactical/militant based approach. The film also explores the travesties faced by leaders of the Black Power Movement.

*I Am Not Your Negro.*

Magnolia Pictures

I am Not Your Negro explores the history of race in America, highlighting the contributions and achievements made by its Black citizens.

The film argues, among other things, that America as we know it would cease to exist without its Black populace.

*LA 92.*


If you're looking for a concise and articulate account of the Rodney King trial and the riots of LA - look no further than LA 92.

The film takes place on the 25th anniversary of the court verdict and examines the case through rare and unseen footage.

*Time: The Kalief Browder Story.*


Of all the films on this list, Time: The Kalief Browder Story has to be one of the most heartbreaking and infuriating.

It tells the story of Kalief Browder, who spent three years in Rykers Island for allegedly stealing a backpack.

*The Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution.*

Firelight Films

This documentary is a concise retelling of the history of the Black Panther Party, one of the most captivating and controversial movements of the 20th century.

The imagery is shocking and the stories are heartbreaking.

*Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story.*


The death of Trayvon Martin sparked the flame which ignited a fire.

Rest In Power retells the story of the horrific event and reveals the serious racial divide that exists not only in America but in the world.

*The Central Park Five.*

IFC Films

The story of The Central Park Five, like many on this list, is tragic. In 1989, five black and Latino teens were arrested and charged for the rape of a white woman.

They spent anywhere from 6-13 years behind bars and were only acquitted when a serial rapist confessed to the crime.

*O.J.: Made In America.*

Laylow Films

O.J.: Made in America took home the 2017 Oscar for Best Documentary, and for good reason.

The film sheds serious light on the racial inequality that exists in the United States and exposes the anger and betrayal felt by millions of its Black citizens.

*State Of Fear: Murder And Memory On Black Wall Street*.


To call what happened in Tulsa a "race riot" is a complete and total misnomer. What happened in 1921 was a massacre, plain and simple.

Mobs of white citizens literally dragged countless Black men and women out into the streets, burned their homes, and hanged them from trees.

*Freedom Riders.*

Firelight Media

Freedom Riders tells the story of segregation in the United States and the horrors that Black citizens faced during the busing campaigns of the early 1960s.

It recalls one of the ugliest chapters in the history of the entire country and highlights those who were forced to become martyrs for the cause.

*Let The Fire Burn.*

Zeitgeist Films

The city of Philadelphia has an ugly history when it comes to the treatment of its Black citizens.

Let The Fire Burn recalls that history and tells the story of the Black Liberation Movement in the City of Brotherly Love.

*The Murder Of Fred Hampton.*

Facets Video

Fred Hampton was the face and leader of the Black Panther Party in Illinois. The film depicts his heinous murder, which was orchestrated by the Chicago Police Department.

The film also highlights the positive impact Fred made on his community at large.



The 13th Amendment put an end to slavery in the United States. At least, that's what we were made to believe.

The film explores how the country uses the prison systems to exploit its Black citizens and maintain a racial hierarchy.

*Whose Streets?*

Magnolia Pictures

"Hands up, don't shoot" became the rallying cry after the tragic death of Michael Brown. Brown was shot and killed by a member of the Ferguson Police Force.

His death sparked outrage in the community and served as a catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement.

For more information about resources and organizations that help #BLM, click here.