24 Movies and TV Shows to Watch During Black History Month and Beyond

The Black Lives Matter movement is not a “trend,” which means posting a black square to Instagram or retweeting a Martin Luther King Jr. quote does not count as a meaningful effort to combat racism. And Black History Month does not mean celebrating and learning about the contributions of Black people in America should be limited to February, the shortest month of the year. 

In order to truly become a good ally, it’s necessary for all people to strive to better understand the experience of being Black in America. After all, history continues to inform the present. The impact of slavery, Jim Crow laws, police brutality, and the activism and assassination of civil rights leaders like Malcolm X and Luther King Jr. are still seen and felt today

While reading nonfiction books and listening to TED Talks are great, and necessary, ways to educate, it can also be as simple as queuing up Netflix. There are so many anti-racist movies and TV series that show Black stories front and center available on streaming platforms. We even made a list, below. While it’s not comprehensive, it is place to begin.

When They See Us (2019)

This four-part series, cowritten and directed by Ava DuVernay, tells the story of the 1989 Central Park jogger case in which five young Black and Latinx men—aged 14 to 16—were found guilty for the rape of a white woman. The Central Park Five, now called the Exonerated Five, were eventually exonerated after years in prison, and their stories are a heartbreaking look at the devastating bias within the American judicial system.

Available to stream on Netflix

Selma (2014)

This historical film is another one of DuVernay’s projects, and it’s a powerful depiction of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1965 marches from Selma, Alabama, to the state’s capital in Montgomery. American people are still fighting against racism more than 50 years later, and this movie is a reminder of how far, and how little, this country has come.

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